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Character Analysis and pick one of those .William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily, and Andre Dubus, Killings - Essay Example

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William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a story of many kinds of killings. Emily is presented as a symbol of the decay of her aristocratic upper class, but her character changes as the story…
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Character Analysis and pick one of those .William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily, and Andre Dubus, Killings
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May 30, Decaying Outside and Decaying Inside: The Killings in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” Emily died first before she had the courage to kill another human being. William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a story of many kinds of killings. Emily is presented as a symbol of the decay of her aristocratic upper class, but her character changes as the story progresses. She started from being reserved to being a little bit open to others and then totally closed like a shell, and these changes are important to the character because it reflects the effects of her family, social class, and society on her as a person. The story represents how social class and gender are hindrances to independence and happiness. Emily has killed Homer because society killed her independence and happiness first due to social class and gender norms.
In the beginning, the story presents Emily with both admiration and criticism because of her class status. Emily belongs to a family of an upper-class family that is respected in the community. When she died, the narrator states that she has gone to where her social class went to, along with “representatives of those august names” (Faulkner par.2). She is a Grierson, one of the most respected names in town. The tone of the story mixes respect and ridicule, however. The narrator describes the house as he would the Griersons: “...only Miss Emilys house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps—an eyesore among eyesores” (Faulkner par.2). The tone challenges the Griersons for remaining superior when they have lost their wealth and influence already.
As the story progresses, Emily opens up to the community a little, which the people respect because they feel sympathy for her after her domineering father died and because she is a old, single woman. The narrator judges the Griersons as too proud of themselves. He uses the words “high and mighty Griersons” in contrast to the “gross, teeming world” because of the smell coming from Emily’s house (Faulkner par. 16). It shows how social class affects the social circle of Emily. At the same time, gender is also an issue for Emily. Her father controlled her life when he was alive. The narrator suggests this when he says: “None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such” (Faulkner par. 25). Gender values that expect her to respect her father’s decision have turned her into an old maiden. Still, she opens up a little when she had China-painting lessons and became romantically involved with Homer. Emily shows her independence after her father died.
However, Emily’s happiness and independence are short-lived because she became a closed shell once more after rumors that Homer will leave her. Some of the rumors are that Homer is gay because he likes young men and that he is “not a marrying man” (Faulkner par. 43). Her neighbors thought Emily would kill herself, but at her deathbed, they learned that she killed Homer instead. Emily killed Homer, not only because she does not want to be lonely anymore, but because she wants to be free and happy without anyone controlling her life anymore. His death symbolizes the end of social controls in her life.
Emily has a miserable life because of her gender and social class. She cannot marry before because of her high social standing and gender rules of following her father. Yet, after his death, society continues to judge her because of her social class and gender. In the end, she frees herself from social norms when she murders Homer. By murdering him, Emily has gained complete control over her life, although in an insane, immoral way.
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Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” Read More
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