A Rose for Emily

In the story and film adaptation “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, Emily Grierson’s life story is being told, explaining certain reasons why Emily became the crazy lady everyone in the town of Jefferson, Mississippi had heard of. It tells the story of how her crazy life turned out.

When Emily’s overbearing father passed away, that’s when she started going mad. People did not find it surprising that Emily went crazy, because she had a crazy old aunt Wyatt.  When Emily’s father passes away, Emily ends up leaving the corpse of her earlier deceased father in the house for a while. Maybe it was because she felt lonely after her father had died, or she had never really had anyone else to interact with other than their butler. I think that she felt the need to keep him there as if he was still alive, hoping that even after he was gone, leaving his body would make things feel the same as if he were alive so that she wasn’t lonely.  As people start to complain about the smell, the townsmen eventually come to her house to retrieve the body before the odor gets any worse. Miss Emily eventually stops interacting with others. For example, Emily used to give paint classes. She completely shuts herself out from the rest of the town.

Emily eventually meets a young yankee named Homer Barron, who she ends up falling for. Homer and Miss Emily would be seen riding around in a wheeled buggy on sunday afternoons. This made the town feel happy for Emily, think that things were finally looking up for her. But eventually, the town just started to feel bad for her, and were saying things like, “poor Emily”. They started to judge her for being with a yankee out of jealousy.

Out of the blue, Emily ends up going to the druggist and asked for some poison. Everyone in the town thought that she was going to kill herself. They thought she had been through enough in her life to drive her to that point.  She specifically asked for the best they have, no matter the kind. She specifically asked asked for arsenic, and if that was a good poison to use. The druggist said that the law requires him to ask what she is going to use it for, which in turn, Emily just gives the man a glare. The druggist goes to the back to get the poison, and a delivery boy comes back to give it to her. The druggist does not come back out from the back room. One afternoon Ms Emily invites Homer Barron over to her house and the butler lets him into the house, and that is the last that anyone ever hears from Homer Barron, or Emily Grierson for a long time.

According the the story, the next time that anyone sees Emily, she had gotten fat, her hair had turned iron gray (pg 810). In the short film, it says that she was getting thinner, not fatter. She only got grayer and grayer from there on out. She eventually dies at the age of seventy-four.  Once she is buried, and her cousins have a funeral for her. Some of the towns ladies that had always been curious about what was going on in that house decided to go look. As soon as the ladies were let in the house by the butler, he leaves out the back door. There is one specific room that no one had seen in forty years, the door had to be broken down to get in. There was dust covering every square inch of the room. Once they were inside they saw the corpse of a man on the bed, with a strange indentation beside his deceased body, along with some strands of iron gray hair.

I feel that she does all of this because she has never been able to interact with people the way others could. Emily’s father was really the person that she was most companioned with. One he died I think that she did not know what else to do. She felt lonely and did not want to lose him, even though she had already did. Once she finds Homer Barron, she feels like she does not have to be lonely anymore, but when she realizes that he will not stay with her, she keeps him there with her forever, by poisoning him with arsenic.

Work Cited

A Rose for Emily. Directed by Lyndon Chubbuck, Performances by Anjelica Huston and John Carradine, Pyramid 1983. YouTube, uploaded by Ashti Abdulhamid, 27 Feb. 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM4SHvHjXZA.

Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings and Handbook. 4th ed., by Richard Bullock, Maureen Daly Goggin, and Francine Weinberg, 2016, pp. 803-12.