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A Rose for Emily and Angels in America Literature Analysis


The story “Rose for Emily” is a unique piece of literature by “William Faulkner”. The whole story is not quite exciting but the end of this story is quite surprising to the readers which give the description of the main character of the story who is by the end proved as a mysterious lady. The author tells us that how the life of the main character of the story ‘Emily’ from a lively and optimistic young girl to a strange and weird old lady.

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In this story, there are a few fascinating features which changed the readers mind completely, from the feminist point of view. According to the feminists woman should also get the equal status as that of men. They must also be given equal right to love someone, to like someone, to marry someone of her own choice. Feminists also believe that women should be strong and independent in the world as is the main character of the story but later she is demonstrated as a weak and feeble lady (Faulkener).

Rose for Emily

Half of the way through the story the main character Emily is portrayed as a fragile lady because she has no men to look after her and take care of her. At the beginning of the story, it is seen that Emily lived with her father and she leaves a good impression on the reader that she was a good lady. She was the only daughter of her father and her father had great control and power over her that she had nothing to worry about. Emily’s father was a cruel, arrogant, pompous and a noble person.

He always regarded Emily as her property and never let any men or anyone else come near her. Due to her father’s stubbornness she was unmarried up till the age of thirty, but she loved her father very much that when her father died she refused to bury him and was not accepting the fact that her father has passed away and that now she is left alone in this world.

After her father’s death she remained in the house forever and avoided to go out of the house. She used to stay sad and lonely, such that this gives readers a feeling of pity over her (Faulkener).

Thus, the mayor of the town forgave her for not paying taxes and later she was set free from paying taxes, but later as the mayor of the town changed she was forced to pay taxes but she refused to do so and denied by saying that “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourself” (Faulkener 253).

Though, the board members informed her that the colonel had passed away ten years before and now she will have to pay taxes but she denies to them and orders her servant to take them out. She said, “Show these gentlemen out” (Faulkener 252). Emily only use to stand by her window and not come out of her house. People use to say that “she gives a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows- sort of tragic and serene” (Faulkener 254).

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Whereas, the feminist believe that women must be strong and independent and somehow these qualities were portrayed in Emily’s characters as she lived alone in her house and does whatever she want to she had no concerns with the outsiders. At that time in the south of America the women were not allowed to choose boyfriends for them to marry. But Emily just did it and she fall in love with Barron. In her opinion she has the right to love and marry a man of her own choice.

So she started chasing his love but the other people of her society did not like her to do this as she belonged to a noble family and they all began to interrupt in her love life.

The ladies began to say the she must set a good example for the young people and that she must leave her love but Emily ignored the people and remained with her love, which proved that how madly she loved that man and that this brought a lot of happiness to her. Feminists here criticized over the double standard of the people of the south. As Emily has always been burdened with others expectations as she belonged to a family with great status and respect among the society (Faulkener).

Though, Barron denied the proposal of Emily for marriage and thus, once again this made Emily weak and lonely and one more time locked up herself in her home. But this also made her a psyche and she decided to kill her love to attain complete control over her love and kept her love’s body forever with her. So she killed her love by giving poison which was illegal “If that’s what you want.

But the law requires you to tell what you are going to use it for” (Faulkener) and kept his body safely in one of the room of her home and used to sleep beside his bed. Now as Emily was mentally ill so she locks herself in her house and avoided to go out and to meet the other town people. And the same happened with the town people knowing that Emily was not mentally or emotionally well so they avoided dealing with her for important distress also. Many feminist critics also interpreted Emily’s illness differently (Faulkener).

Feminist critics think of her as a weak girl who could not just stand against her father in his lifetime and could not raise voice in front of her father for freedom. And by the end of the story when she failed to live independently and could not achieve a life as the other women have she returned back to the life of isolation and loneliness with the body of her love rotting in her house. By this story the readers basically respond to one fact that she was haunted by two men in her life, whom she has loved very much.

As above it is said that the end was the most surprising in this story which changed the readers thought completely was about the death of Emily. At last her soul left the world to enter in the new world in the new life.

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After her death, when the town people entered in her house they found her dead body and Barron’s dead body in the secret room “For a long while we just stood there looking down at the profound and fleshless grin” (Faulkener), where they also found the hair of Emily which proved that she used to sleep with the corpse of Barron (Faulkener).

“Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of the head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of irony-grey hair” (Faulkener).

Many critics feel pity for Emily. The feminist critics criticize that Emily’s parents completely ruined and messed out her life, her happiness and isolated her with hatred and unkindness (Faulkner). Many readers think that “A Rose for Emily” is not a feminist story because feminism proves empowerment which is not the theme of this story.

In this story the main character is the female and somehow she is kept as a prisoner, she is haunted by the love of two men and she keeps herself hidden in her house, and lives lonely. Only the changes which came in her life were for a little time otherwise she was a prisoner by her father and then she remained in the house with his love in front of her eyes.

Some readers response that ‘female power’ has been proved in this story as Emily kills a man and then sleeping with the corpse like taking control over the life of a person is not easy for anyone, but Emily did so as she was deeply in love with Barron and did not want to lose his love at any cost therefore she kept his love’s body with her and stayed with it day and night and did not cared about anything else.

A few readers response that Emily was a kind of lady who has a thirst for love after her father’s death when she could was all alone in the world she found a love for herself but was unable to face the rejection due to which she took a very bold step of killing his love and taking control over him for the time till her death.

She always needed someone to love her and to protect her and after her father’s death she was not well emotionally and mentally. A few readers think that the only reason seemed for the denial of marriage is that may be Homer Barron was homo-sexual due to which he rejected the marriage proposal of Emily (Barloon).

Though, readers can conclude it by saying that Emily was a good character and in this story we can see two sides of her characteristics that one is of a girl who is weak and need someone for her support and is in need of love always, while the other side proves that she was a very bold and brave lady that she killed her love, kept her love’s body in her house and use to sleep beside the rotten corpse every night.

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Readers also conclude that she has also been sincere with the relations she had in her life and was emotionally serious that she could not accept the changes in her life easily. Moreover feminist also favor Emily as she in her life protested against the rules of south of America and boldly chose to love a person of her own choice (Faulkner).

Angels in America

The movie “Angels in America” is a magnificent masterpiece of “Mike Nicholas”. It consists of up to thirty characters which are all interconnected to each other. In this movie the basic themes are of the AIDs and homosexuality. This is an extra ordinary movie in which the director has portrayed nursing. The movie is a complete exploration of sexuality, belief, faith, loyalty and politics when the AIDs era started in the United States.

The movie mainly focuses on the two characters ‘Walter’ (a smart, clever and adorable young man) and ‘Cohn’ (the corrupt lawyer). As Walter gets his diagnosis about his scary illness, he is dumped by his love just because of this incurable illness.

However, a very close friend of Walter, Belize is an AIDs nurse and is also a very loving and caring person who not only treats Walter for his illness but also tries to keep him happy and lively with her love. Whereas, after diagnosing about the non-curable illness Cohn tries to get his license to practice law cancelled (Hard).

After knowing about his illness Cohn also came up to the ward of Belize where he was provided with the treatment very kindly. And at this time when Walter was about to leave the hospital he receives a visit from an angel, who forces him to spread a divination that to stop moving until the God returns, who has deserted the world after an earthquake. At this stage of movie Walter creates good relations with Joe’s mother whose son is a homosexual and is in search of the missing Harper.

Walter denies accepting the fact of the Angel’s existence. Although he declared that AIDs is an incurable illness due to which many people will die. Whereas there are several other communities which are in action and are neither stoppable nor they will return back, these communities are; gay community, human community, black people community, white people community, and so on. Walter also declares that “world only spins forward” (Summers).

This movie basically consists of the two parts the first part as discussed above is about the incurable illness in Cohn and Walter whereas they both are heterosexual men. Whereas part two tells us that how each character individually survives from the loss they have experienced in their lives.

The main plot of this movie lies in the fascinating world in which there are angels, demons, devils and other spirits. And this movie creates a sense of belief in the readers that after their death their soul will also come back to earth as that of the Cohn near the end scene.

The movie focuses on the facts of politics and femininity. This tells us about the post feminist era and the interrogations between the homosexuals and heterosexuals (sexual identification) and relationship between the genders (Meisner). The movie greatly focuses on the nursing of AIDs. In this movie, there is no physician therefore the other main role of this movie is played by Belize who is not only a nurse but he is also a good friend to others and creates good relations with the people.

Later, there is an entry of an upper class physician who has come for the treatment of Cohn in the Belize’s AIDS ward and is annoyed with Belize because he ignored his entry and continued his conversation with Walter on the phone. They both also had a bad conversation over their dresses and their way of doing work but as Cohn was not satisfied with the treatment of Belize and he did not like him therefore he had called his friend and a well known physician Henry.

The only fact of disliking Belize by Cohn is that he is a gay male. Belize always tries to protect his patients from a ‘dysfunctional health care’, but later he is convinced that as many aids activists are not reaching to the places on the right time due to which thousands of people suffering from aids are dying.

The movie does not proves that the nurses are the angels where as Belize is a positive character in the movie but still this fact does not prove that she is an angel who will cure the people from their illness. He is just a normal person who tries to help his patients and to keep them happy and satisfied with his medication.

Although he is against all the ethical rules and does not let it come in between the relations of Belize with his patients. The feminists’ critics here think of Belize as a humble person who is always ready to help anyone. Being a gay male he is not shy over it and performs his duty with full concentration and equally treats every one either it is a Jew or a black (Hard).

According to the feminists critics ‘Angels in America’ is not only a good movie about the starting era of AIDS but is also showing relations between the homosexuals and heterosexuals and is fabulously showing everyone living equally in a society with good relations of friendship. There are several complex characters in this movie but still this fact cannot be denied that this ‘aberration’ of the American culture.

The characters in this movie are dealing with various problems of AIDS, politics, their prides and prejudices but still it’s a true art movie (Summers). Feminists’ critics also criticize that at the same time the movie is discussing about the three factors in the characters life of the United States citizens:

  1. Amendments made for the gay culture.
  2. The incurable and widespread disease; AIDS.
  3. The fantasy world which creates an enlightened interest.

All these factors leave its impact on the audience for a long time and force them to think over these factors and its impact on the lives of the characters (Butler and Grosz).

Several critics title this movie as “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes”. Some readers response that Angels in America is a complete movie which explore many issues such as; racial issues, sexual issues, religious issues, social issues and many others at the time when an incurable illness like AIDS was spreading far and wide and when people were dying of this illness. A few readers respond that this movie is a mixture of fantasy and reality, because angels, real characters, and ghosts all appear on the screen together (Griggers).

The readers also respond by saying that the movie is completely linked with the ordinary people. They also explain that this movie is about huge and massive events that took place in their city as the start of the era of AIDS and the imaginations which a few characters faced that is of the Angels.


From the movie Angels in America readers can conclude that this movie is a fantastic one that points at one of the most critical problem AIDS in United States during the 1980’s. Although this movie is made many years before but still it has a great impact in today’s world also because two major factors were discussed in it; AIDS and homosexual person.

According to the feminist critics and readers point of view this movie has set a good example for the people that gay males should not be considered low and must be given equal status to live in society equally and that people suffering from incurable illness like AIDS should be given proper treatment, love and care. And that they should never be left alone or kept away from the family (Summers).

Works Cited

Barloon, Jim. A Rose for Homer? The Limitations of a Reader-Response Approach to Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”. Web.

Butler, Judith and Elizabeth Grosz. Post-Feminism. 2005. Web.

Faulkener, William. A Rose for Emily. United States, 1931.

Faulkner, William. An Analysis of A Rose For Emily. 2010. Web.

Griggers, Cody. Story of ‘Angels in America’ is normal rather than noble. Princetonian Arts Writer, 2001.

Hard, G. Angels in America. 2008. Web.

Meisner, Natalie. Project Muse. 2003. Web.

Summers, Harry Jacobs. Angels in America. 2004. Web.

William Faulkner. Rose For Emily. Web.

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