The first story we have learned in this American Literature course is A rose for Emily of William Faulkner. It is one of the most famous short stories in America, which reflected the life of Southern people in the early of 20th century and how they changed in order to adapt to new life. I have heard of this story long time before, but until this semester I started reading it in a serious way. From the beginning of A rose for Emily, I was so curious about Miss Emily’s life that I couldn’t stop reading. Why did she live like that? What caused the smell of her house?
What did she do with Homer Barron? What happened in that mysterious house? Then, I was frightened after finishing the story. I couldn’t believe a woman could lie beside a corpse for years like that. I admit that at first I didn’t appreciate this story very much, because I supposed it just told readers a ridiculous life of an insane lady. However, after some analysis, I began to realize its value and the humanity which the author put in. To tell the truth, I totally sympathize with Miss Emily’s tragedy. She didn’t cause misery for herself but everyone around her was to be blamed for that job.
Her father totally controlled her life even after he died. He chased away all her suitors with the conservative idea that they didn’t deserve to be her partner. He forced her to live with emotionless face, to be proud of herself and look down on people from lower class. By that way, he unintentionally made her rely on him too much, and that’s the reason why she was so depressed after his death, the beginning of more serious tragedies waiting for her in future. People in town also didn’t seem to understand her situation.
All they cared about was the life of an aristocrat in new society. The way they behaved to Miss Emily forced her to be a stranger in that community, so that she couldn’t integrate with the others, which made her become a definite recluse. Homer Barron was like new pleasant wind for Miss Emily’s life. Unfortunately, he was not a marrying type as he himself declared that fact. His appearance could be seen as another element contributing to the tragedy life of Miss Emily. Her strange upbringing led to her strange method to keep her lover: kill him, so he would stay with her forever.
In my opinion, we might understand her eccentric point of view, and the act of trying to keep her father’s corpse also foreshadowed her decision with her lover. Miss Emily seemed to be stuck in the past, couldn’t accept the changes of modern society and the decline of aristocratic class in the South. Moreover, no one helped her to get out of the mud and adapt to new life. On the contrary, they pushed her far away from them, made her to be a monument of town for everyone to chat about. I suppose the tragic life of Miss Emily should receive sympathy from readers, after the whole life she had lived in isolation.