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William Faulkner: Short Story of Explication, a Rose for Emily

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•One thing that “A Rose for Emily” has in common with the sketches is over the subject of feminism. Faulkner is thought to have been a feminist, while the writings of Irving and Hawthorne, clearly portray non-feministic ideas. Hawthorne and Faulkner also share a tendency to write about dark, heavy and depressing subjects. •Faulkner’s writings were mostly influenced by where he was from. Most of his novels take place in Mississippi in the fictional Oknapatawpha County. Faulkner wrote about the history of the South. He was influenced by American fictionist Mark Twain and many other Southern American writers such as Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O’Connor, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, Harper Lee and Tennessee Williams. •William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway have complete opposite writing styles in the way that Hemingway uses short, simple sentences, and Faulkner uses more complex sentence structure. They had an ongoing feud over it actually, which leads one to believe that Faulkner was influenced by almost any writer but Hemingway. They wrote about similar themes; however ,their writing style contrasted greatly. •Faulkner does not seem to improve upon other writer’s work; however, he is quick to criticize other writer’s works, such as Ernest Hemingway. QUOTATIONS

•“When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant—a combined gardener and cook—had seen in at least ten years (Faulkner 2218).” This sentence opens up the short story, and is important, because it starts out the story differentiating between genders. It also shows the southern town’s reaction to death. •“Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair (Faulkner 2225).” This sentence refers to when the main character in the story, Emily, would visit her dead lover every night and sleep next to him as if he were alive. This quote closes the story and is important because it shows Faulkner’s at times Gothic, dark writing style. INTERPRETATIONS

•“A Rose for Emily” has two main themes: appearance verses reality, and tradition verses change especially in the South. Emily is a monument to the past, and stands for the traditions that people wish to keep sacred; however, she is also an outcast and is cut off from reality. She does not live in the modern real world, but instead, she is passed by it and goes insane because of it. She lives in denial during the entire second half of her life. She denies the fact her father is dead until three days after his death, and she sleeps with her dead husband every night. •“A Rose for Emily” has many themes which makes it an easy story to interpret a number of ways. Some might view this story as one which describes great decay and lost monuments to the past.

Others might just view Emily as an insane woman who lived alone and died. This story can also be interpreted as one which elaborates on the ideas of the changing south. •Yes this story teaches a lesson. The lesson that this story teaches is to beware of denial. Emily lived her life in denial and went insane. She lived far from any sort of reality and needed real psychological help. •Faulkner has a purpose in his writing. His writing deals with the issues of the changing south by the influences north in “A Rose for Emily.” Most of his writings portrayed his thoughts on life in the south and the problems arising . he is keeping a record of what life is like during this changing time. DETAILS

•Symbolism is a literary element used a great deal in this short story. Emily herself, and her home are strong symbols in the story which represent the past. A symbol of time is Emily’s hair, which turns “iron gray” by the end of the story.The lime sprinkled to hide the smell of Homer’s decaying corpse symbolizes an attempt to hide something the town thought of as strange and embarrassing. •The setting of this story is at a creepy old house in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. It occurs approximately in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The setting being in the south is crucial to Faulkner’s writings. •William Faulkner’s uses imagery to set a tone for the general theme of death in the story. Faulkner uses long, complex sentence structures in his writing.

He uses a creepy, ironic tone in the short story as well. Faulkner uses a first person narrator, who sometimes speaks for the men of the town and uses the pronoun “we”. There is no dialogue in which Miss Emily is directly involved in. •The conflict in this short story is very intriguing. It shows personal struggles through Miss Emily’s loneliness and isolation. There are also many external struggles involving the town and their view of Miss Emily. •Some literary devices used in this short story are foreshadowing and flashback. The very first sentence of the story is a foreshadowing of what is to come. PROSPECTS

•In a lengthy research paper, the theories that would lend themselves to discussion are theories based on gender, changing times, and isolation. An example of a thesis statement would be something like: In the short story, “A Rose for Emily”, William Faulkner writes during a time of hardship in the south. •No, I have no unanswered questions.

•Yes, studying would be of great assistance to understanding the story.

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