The Day Mr. Grierson Died
“Your tea sir ” I placed the tea on the table, Mr. Grierson was still on his bed. Then I gave tea to Miss Emily and went out to the market. I came back from the market and went to clean Mr. Grierson’s room. Tea was still on the table as I left it and Mr. Grierson was still sleeping. “Sir sir” I called it loud, I ain’t got no response from him. Cold air passed over my head. I nervously shook him “Sir, sir ”, he was still irresponsive.
I quickly ran to Miss Emily, “Miss Emily” breathing heavily I called.
“What happened Tobe? “ She calmly asked.
“What happened to father?” She screamed.
“Mr. Grierson ain’t no responding,” I said in a panic voice.
“Go call the doctor” and she rushed to the room.
Doctor came and announced him dead. “No, my father is not dead” Miss Emily shouted holding Mr. Grierson’s arm. In few hours, the news reached everyone’s ear. One by one people started calling home and some paid their visit as a custom, but Miss Emily answered all of them same “My Father is not dead”. She declined the visitors and telephone calls.
“Tobe, make sure no body disturbs my father, he needs rest. These people don’t understand, my father is sick; he is not dead. He just needs some rest.”
“Sure Miss Emily” I replied her in a shaky voice.
There was nothing I could do; I just followed the orders otherwise stood and watch. I was just a servant. That whole day she stayed with the dead body of Mr. Grierson. I was worried; she was going crazy. Soon the whole town started talking about Miss Emily. The next day ministers and doctors again tried to convince her but they were unsuccessful. Finally on the third day, town decided to take some action and gathered in front of the house. People started shouting outside and authorities warned Miss Emily.
“Miss Emily please let us enter the house. It’s against the law to keep the dead body. We have to take some action against you if you do not cooperate with us.”
Tears ran through Miss Emily’s cheeks. “She came out of the trauma,” I said to myself. She opened the door and authorities took the body out for the final ritual. As the people were taking out the body from the house, Miss Emily cried out loud, “Don’t take my father, I need him.”
“Don’t take him please”
Her tears didn’t stopped for days. I hadn’t seen Miss Emily so sad. She just sat on the couch and looked through the window. She kept herself alone. She didn’t talk with anybody. I was the only person coming in and out of the house otherwise the house looked lifeless. When I used to go out in the market, people used to ask me about the Miss Emily.
“How is Miss Emily doing Tobe?”
What happened to Miss Emily? Why is she not answering our phone? Is she alright?”
But I ain’t answer no body. I kept quiet, did my thing in the market and returned home. Miss Emily was in great depression. She had lost her support. She was like a half dead body, didn’t ate well, stayed hours on the couch and sometimes hours staring at the empty room of Mr. Grierson. Slowly Miss Emily began to fall sick.
“Miss Emily you need to see a Doctor”
“No Tobe, I am all right. I just need some rest and time for myself.”
Like I said before, there was nothing I could do. Just follow the orders.
In the story “A Rose for Emily’ by William Faulkner, Miss Emily is a mysterious character who displays unbalanced and strange behaviors to the world. Her identity is locked inside the four walls of the house where no one have accessed for more than forty years. She demanded to live her life in her own terms and conditions: She didn’t pay the tax; she refused to put the house number given by federal mailing service and she even denied to give reason for buying poison although it was required by law. At the end of the story when Miss Emily died, a shocking image of her was reveled. She was found living with dead body, which leaves lot of questions unanswered about her character. The story is narrated in second person objective where the narrator is the collective voice of the town. The narrator of this story does not have access to any of the character’s mind nor he has access inside the house of Miss Emily. So in the story lots of information are missing and questions are unanswered for the readers. This is one of the reason I choose this mysterious story “ A Rose for Emily” to retell. Retelling this original story through a different character of the story would make readers to see this story in different way. The new narration has different setting and plot for the story. Among the various characters of the story, I selected Tobe (Miss Emily’s servant) to be the narrator of my story. The autodiegetic narration of Tobe has the access inside Miss Emily’s house, so this narration includes her reaction on her father’s death and the activities inside the house.
Tobe is a silent character in the story; he never speaks and just appears in few scenes of the story. But he is a very important character who can put light on dark side of the story because he is the only person who has the access inside the house; he is the connection between the inner and the outer world of Miss Emily. Tobe witnessed everyone’s death inside that house; from the death of Mr. Grierson to the death of Miss Emily he was there. He even lived along the wired life of Miss Emily because I think he cared about Miss Emily. So, he disappeared from the house after the death of Miss Emily.
Retelling the story “A Rose for Emily” and the original story definitely shares main plot of the storyline but the story by Tobe focuses more inside of the house activities where as the original story focuses the activities that took place outside of the house. The main context of the story is to portrait Miss Emily but when we do not have access inside the world of Miss Emily, it is very hard to narrow down the points. In the retelling of the story we are able to enter the world of Miss Emily, which helps us to see the story in different way. No body knew how Miss Emily reacted on her father’s death, how she used to live isolated those many years and how Tobe managed to live in such an abnormal situation. If this was the retelling of the entire story then we could have got the answers for these questions and other unclear statements; but I selected just a small scene from the original story to retell it. I picked up the scene where Emily’s father dies. I particularly chose this scene to narrate because I think this is the time when everything started falling for Miss Emily. She lost her only support in the world but the original story is unable to give details on her reaction and her feelings. “When her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her; and in a way, people were glad. At last they could pity Miss Emily. Being left alone, and a pauper she become humanized.” Tobe retells the same incident in depth where the readers can actually feel the pain of Miss Emily, ‘“No, my father is not dead” Miss Emily shouted holding Mr. Grierson’s arm.’ Only the sentence “shouted holding Mr. Grierson’s arm” describe the inner pain of Miss Emily, which was missing from the original story. Not only Miss Emily’s reaction but the retold story also adds Tobe’s reaction when he first found Mr. Grierson dead. “Tea was still on the table as I left it and Mr. Grierson was still sleeping. “Sir sir” I called it loud, I ain’t got no response from him. Cold air passed over my head. I nervously shook him “Sir, sir ”, he was still irresponsive.” This reaction from Tobe creates an interesting background before they found out about Mr. Grierson. In the original story we are then told that Emily did not had any grief on the face and she decline to give the dead body of her father as she think her father is not dead. “Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days” Reading this sentence it is very hard for us to think why she behaved like this but when we read the same incident from Tobe’s point of view, we can see how she took her father’s death. “Tobe, make sure no body disturbs my father, he needs rest. These people don’t understand, my father is sick; he is not dead. He just needs some rest.” These sentences from Emily’s mouth explain that she is in trauma of her father’s death, so being mentally restless she is not able to face the reality and avoiding it. Tobe was the only person who faced the uncomfortable time of Miss Emily very closely but the original narration just did not counted him. This skipped part comes out when Tobe describes his thoughts and reaction in his own narration, ‘“Sure Miss Emily” I replied her in a shaky voice. There was nothing I could do; I just followed the orders otherwise stood and watch. I was just a servant. That whole day she stayed with the dead body of Mr. Grierson. I was worried; she was going crazy.’ Tobe cared about Miss Emily and wanted to help her to recover from trauma but he was unable to do anything for her. He could not even bring out his emotions because he was tide with the title of a servant. So he just kept following the orders.
Just retelling the small scene from the original story somewhat changed the image of Miss Emily. “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” Miss Emily was portrayed as a lifeless human but Tobe’s narration portrayed her as a normal woman who has the feelings like others as she cried and shouted for her father. Now I am very positive that retelling the entire story from Tobe’s point of view would definitely make the story more interesting and less mysterious.