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“A Rose for Emily“: Features of Faulkner’s Written Style

The critical theory by Lois Tyson offers a literary analysis of the psychoanalytic theory whereby it seeks to explain individual character depicted in an individual who is lacking in terms of character and moral standing in his or her actions.

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The short story A Rose for Emily takes on a sinister path because of the happenings seen throughout the plot up to the end. The happenings seem to haunt the characters and all the people of the town such that at the end, all the negative activities come out for all to see.

All the activities that took place behind the scenes in one way or another come to light, more specifically the evils of Emily. Faulkner seeks to bring to our attention that all evils regardless of who commits them and where must come to light some day (Faulkner 15).

Emily never allowed anyone to interfere with her life; her twisted lifestyle leads to bizarre happenings, most of which come to light at the time of her death, for instance, the death of her lover Mr. Homer.

She is a perfect example of the kind of people who refuse to accept change, which leads her to kill him and have his body rot under her roof in the name of wanting to have this unforgivable power over him that is, she does not want him to leave her side forever.

She, therefore, has got no clear distinction between reality and disillusionment. Because of her fear for the unknown (Faulkner 24), she prefers to have the dead bodies of the men in her life, first her father and later on her lover to herself.

She retains the body of her dead father for three days not wanting to release it for burial; this best explains the degree of her insanity. A normal person cannot do that under normal circumstances; then one is left to ask whether this normal or does Emily have an obsession for dead bodies?

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Her aristocrat-like father, who found no suitor acceptable for his daughter, raised her with an iron fist which might be seen as the reason behind her indeed very weird character.

Later on in the story, she is described as a frustrated and violent person because she has created a very unreal world around her.

She is so mysterious such that she even tells the town leaders to consult the dead man Colonel Sartoris over her exemption from paying the taxes, yet it is well understood that the Colonel had been dead for nearly a decade now. Miss. Emily’s inability to take in change is seen.

She finds fit to get a scapegoat as a defense mechanism to avoid paying the taxes. The people have also given up and thus accord Emily the respect they give her because of the social status she has acquired.

Emily thus becomes the oppressor in the story, for she is seen as rich and is therefore feared (Faulkner 35).

The position of the father figure in A Rose for Emily is depicted as the cause for all the problems in the story (Faulkner 32), her father is seen to be the cause of her mental condition, and her father is the reason behind her neurosis and insanity.

Emily’s father did not find any suitor fit for her, not even until she got to thirty. This same father is said to have taken advantage of her sexually. This depicts a family problem.

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She lives in self-denial by not allowing the outside forces to be part of her life; she lives as if there is no one around her and therefore commits the social injustices assuming that no one will ever find out, but of course, all come out bare at the point of her death.

The concept of an individual’s past playing a determining role in how the individual’s present life and future life is going to be like can also be said to be seen throughout the character of Emily.

The respect accorded Emily follows her up to her death, for it all started early in life and she dies owning the respect even though in the real sense she did not deserve it (Faulkner 60).

Emily is also seen to have a black male servant who runs errands for her; she is so domineering over him such that the man has got no voice in the whole story, and at the point of her death he walks out through the back door and is never seen again.

This is a clear picture of the social issues portrayed throughout the story, those of Emily and the people around her.

This black man is just a miniature character who is used to bring out Emily as a person; this is the only man who is seen to be in Emily’s life up to the end of her existence, though helpless at least he shows that at some point men are also helpful in women’s lives (Faulkner 70).

The whole issue about the inner personality of an individual is brought out through the outward character.

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. London. Language Publication. 2009. Pp. 1 – 72.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, May 3). “A Rose for Emily“: Features of Faulkner’s Written Style. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/a-rose-for-emily-by-william-faulkner/

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StudyCorgi. (2020, May 3). “A Rose for Emily“: Features of Faulkner’s Written Style. https://studycorgi.com/a-rose-for-emily-by-william-faulkner/

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"“A Rose for Emily“: Features of Faulkner’s Written Style." StudyCorgi, 3 May 2020, studycorgi.com/a-rose-for-emily-by-william-faulkner/.

1. StudyCorgi. "“A Rose for Emily“: Features of Faulkner’s Written Style." May 3, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/a-rose-for-emily-by-william-faulkner/.


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StudyCorgi. 2020. "“A Rose for Emily“: Features of Faulkner’s Written Style." May 3, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/a-rose-for-emily-by-william-faulkner/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) '“A Rose for Emily“: Features of Faulkner’s Written Style'. 3 May.

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