A Rose for Emily: the Main Themes

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The main themes of “A Rose For Emily” is apathy and death. The story is about a woman who’s life has been filled with apathy and pity from everything around her. The plot, characters, and tone help describe the theme of this story. The tone of this story always seems to be quite depressing. It starts off with Miss Emily passing away. The whole town goes to her funeral because she was such a big figure for her town. Throughout the story, she starts to be come a recluse when her father dies, and later on in her life, the townspeople think she has become suicidal because she oes to the drug store to buy some arsenic. It is depressing to see t hat the all the townspeople think she wants to kill herself and that it would be for the best. “So the next day we all said, ‘She will kill herself’, and we said it would be the best thing. (119)

Everyone just seems to always feel bad for her. The main characters of this story are Miss Emily, the townspeople, and Homer Barron. Miss Emily herself seems to have lived a hard life and get let go of things. A good example of this would be her fathers death and tried all she could to prevent the body from being buried, as well s the townspeople finding the corpse of Homer in her house. The townspeople are considered characters because they are the ones talking throughout the story and are always commenting on Emily and always assume what is going to happen. They never seem to think that good things will come for her except for the short sudden moment of her meetings with Homer Barron. Homer is the man that the townspeople think starts having a relationship with Emily. They actually were happy for Emily at first but that starts to become doubted when he remarks that he liked men and liked to drink with he younger ones. The biggest think about Home is the discovery of his corpse during the climax of the story, which helps justify Emily’s problem of letting things go. “The man himself lay in the bed. For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin…. What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of his nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay. ” (121) The entire plot of this story deals with apathy. The whole town goes to her funeral when she dies. The townspeople always seem to feel bad for her as well, and even assumes suicide.

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It has a lot to deal with death. Emily, her father, and Homer all die and everyone just Expresses apathy to these characters. “A Rose For Emily” is a story filled with apathy and death. Specific story elements that describe this, is the tone, characters, and plot. It is a good short story that makes the reader try to think about why these characters think and come to be. It can also make you yourself feel bad for the characters.

Works Cited

  1. Faulkner, William. “A Rose For Emily”. Portable Literature. Ed. Karen Mauk. Wadsworth: Wadsworth Cenage Learning, 2010. 115-121. Print.

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A Rose for Emily: the Main Themes. (2017, Feb 18). Retrieved from


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