Compare and Constrast Essay on Rose for emily

This essay has a total of 1495 words and 6 pages.

rose for emily

Almost everyone laments how the world has changed since they were young, how everything is
now faster, more complicated, and less friendly. In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily,"
Miss Emily sees the world change in many different ways, and yet stays the same. In her
case, the world she grew up in literally is gone, and she does not posses the skills to
change along with it. She is a woman lost in time, with no real place among society,
especially not a society who places her on a pedestal, enabling her many questionable
actions. The factors of her life and the stigmas placed upon her due to those factors
yield to her no choice but the actions which she chose.

Miss Emily's generation grew up in a time when women were expected to get married, have
children, and take care of the house. For someone of her status, this would have been the
epitome of her adult life. She would be the mistress of a household, leading a life of
entertaining and quiet leadership. Miss Emily, however, never married. Her father had
never accepted her suitors, meeting them at the door "clutching a horsewhip." He selfishly
kept her single all those years, which must have caused immense embarrassment to a woman
from her era, whose whole life should have led up to her marriage. She seldom left her
house after her father died, further mystifying herself to the town who watched her life
from behind their lace curtains.

The Civil War came and went, and Miss Emily still lived in that same house "set on what
had once been [the] most select street," "lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above
the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps." Miss Emily had once belonged to the most select
class, and still stubbornly maintained the image, even though she and her entire town knew
the truth to be otherwise. She remained a stubborn product of her times, keeping a
manservant who most likely had been with her since he had been a slave, and had stayed out
of loyalty to her. She continually refused progress, not allowing them to "fasten the
metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it" when the town finally got postal
service. Time continued ticking on, and yet Miss Emily refused to acknowledge it. She
firmly entrenched herself in denial when her father died, telling the townspeople "that
her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her,
and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body." Finally, she
admits that her father is in fact gone, and allows the officials to bury him. She does not
have an easy time adapting, which is understandable. Her entire life, she has been stuck
in that house with her father, probably has never left the town, and apparently had no
friends to keep her company. Nothing has ever really changed for her, and so she has never
had to deal with change.

The narrator, a random townsperson, illustrates very well the awe and fear the town held
for Miss Emily. To them, she portrayed everything that they wished they could be, and all
that they were glad not to be. They held a twisted form of respect for her. When she dies,
she is referred to as a "fallen monument" whom the men went to see out of a "respectful
affection," much like that of your child's pet, who you go through the funeral for, but
will never really understand. The women of the town went "mostly out of curiosity to see
the inside of her house, which no one…had seen in at least ten years." They had always
wondered what she was like, but never really found out. It was not their place to speak
with her, for she was a Grierson, albeit a fallen one. Miss Emily was aware of this class
distinction, refusing to receive the townswomen into her home after her father's death.
Miss Emily had to maintain her image of propriety that had been placed upon her. Indeed,
it seems as if the town would have been disappointed to see her otherwise.

Miss Emily, in her "monument" position, was allowed to do mostly whatever she pleased. Her
taxes had been remitted in the time of ladies and gentlemen, and no one pushed the issue
too far when they decided she needed to start paying them. She remained stubborn and firm
in her status, showing her power -- however antiquated -- over them when "she did not ask
them to sit." She simply stated "I have no taxes in Jefferson," then asked her servant to
"show these gentlemen out." They could not argue with her. She was the high and mighty
Miss Emily Grierson, who had become a "tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary
obligation upon the town." This fact was never questioned; Miss Emily did as she pleased.

When Miss Emily, who was never referred to as simply "Emily," went to the druggist, he did
not challenge her request. She asserted herself and her position, cutting off his
sentences, staring him down with her "cold, haughty black eyes." She demands arsenic, and
he gives it to her, even though it is against the law. He simply writes "for rats" on the
package; Miss Emily has placed herself above the law, and no one feels the need to
challenge that.
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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