“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.”We were recently told to read William Faulkner’s short story A Rose for Emily in my Fiction class. Honestly, William Faulkner intimidates me, because I’ve read reviews of his novels and stream of consciousness keeps popping up. Stream of consciousness and I aren’t friends. We’re bitter enemies. I tried to keep in mind, though, that a short story probably won’t be that painful, and, when I looked up A Rose for Emily, I learned that it’s considered Faulkner’s most “accessible” work.
So, off I went and read the story. A Rose for Emily is about Emily Grierson, the last living descendant of the high and mighty Griersons, and the secret she harbored through the years until her death. It is told in a non-linear way, and, in fact, it begins with the last event in the narrative.
The short story clearly depicts how people lived in the South, but the real star, of course, is Miss Emily. Her father turned away all her suitors, thinking no one was good enough for THE Emily Grierson, and she ends up growing old alone after his death. When she finally encounters love, she does whatever she can to hold on to it.
For me, Emily Grierson is a pitiful character. Yes, she has wealth and unrivaled standing in the community, but, if you’re lonely, what can standing and money do for you? The story raised those questions in my mind, and blurred the line between right and wrong, between the selfish and the pitiful.
A Rose for Emily was an excellent sample of Faulkner’s writing.
You can read A Rose for Emily HERE.