Edict is a (Noun)
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary edict means: An official order given by a person with power or by government.
This term was used by William Faulkner in, “A Rose for Emily.” on page 1 of class handout. William Faulkner wrote, “…dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor who fathered the edict that no negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron…” Faulkner used the tem edict to emphasized that the Colonel Sartoris who was mayor at the time and was responsible for the new law for black woman to wear apron in public would not be considered to be lying when he made formal statement that Miss Emily was excused from paying taxes because the town was indebted to her father for a loan he had given to the town in the past. This apparently was not true, but because Colonel Sartoris was in high authority within the town his explanation for not allowing her to be taxes was not challenged during his time as mayor.
Noblesse oblige (Noun)
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary noblesse oblige means: The obligation of honorable, generous and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth.
This term was used by William Faulkner in, “A Rose for Emily,” page 4 of class handout. William Faulkner wrote, “but there were still others, older people, who said that even grief should not cause a real lady to forget noblesse oblige.” My understanding of this term in the passage is that the towns people especially the older ones frowned upon the relationship between Homer Barron and Miss Emily. They knew her upbringing and the Griersons were considered to be aristocrats. Miss Emily the last of Griersons was still considered an aristocrat. They felt she was forgetting who she was and was dating and contemplating marriage to someone who was beneath her stature. They felt she should not let grief and loneliness cause her to settle for a day laborer. Her father who had vanquished so many suitors would have been appalled.
Emily Grierson from William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily is a woman who never married. It was intriguing to see Emily become a recluse. The story is an excellent example of macabre and horror, Faulkner proves if done right you can creep readers out without gory details and intense violence. The narration [third-point of view] was also enjoyable, I especially liked how the narration used the word ‘our’ to depict the feelings of the town as a whole.
The story started out with Emily already being dead, and then Faulkner starts telling us about the Colonel who made up a story so Emily didn’t have to pay her taxes, it is unclear what is actually happening in the story. However, it becomes clear what direction Faulkner was taking; key moments of Emily’s life in the eyes of the town were recalled and told to us, these events in turn helped with inferring the revelation of Emily’s chilling necrophiliac nature.
The first hint at necrophilia was Emily’s refusal of her fathers death when, for three days, she kept his dead body in her house. Emily wasn’t seen after her fathers death again until around the time construction workers showed up in town. She was seen around town with Homer Barron and the townsfolk thought she would marry him. Much later when she was well over thirty she was seen buying arsenic due to which the townsfolk thought she was going to finally kill herself. Instead she invited Homer to her house after which he was never seen again. Emily after his disappearance became a full reclusive and wasn’t seen again until her death (except for when the men in the town saw her in the window after they sneaked into her house and sprinkled lime all over the doors etc due to the horrid smell surrounding her house and for the brief period she taught china-painting). After her death the story goes back to present and reconnects with the opening passage. The women and men enter her house and go upstairs to the room that they knew was never seen in the last forty years. They see a room decorated as a bridal suite and see a man, whom we can assume is Homer Barron, dead.
The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him. What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay; and upon him and upon the pillow beside him lay that even coating of the patient and biding dust. Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.
The ending was the second and the most crucial hint at necrophilia. Even so, Faulkner leaves a lot of gaps in the story giving way to various interpretations, I’m sure some of you may have read the end differently than I did.
I believe that Emily’s actions are the result of her strong independence. She refuses to be criticized by the town when she gallivants around town with Homer Barron without being married to him even though it was frowned upon by the entire neighborhood. She refuses to be left by Homer, so she murders him by giving him the arsenic to drink in order not to lose control of the relationship that she has with Barron and she refuses to pay taxes because Colonel Sartoris told her she was not obligated to.
In order to write an analysis on power one must first know the definition. Power is the right to control the lives of people and objects. We know by the narration of “A Rose for Emily” that the Grierson last name had control in the town of Jefferson. She was able to get away with not paying taxes. According to Emily she didn’t owe any taxes. The tax collectors were swiftly escorted out by Tobe her servant, which proves she’s used to getting her way. Another example of Emily’s power was from the rotten smell coming from her home. The Mayor was hesitant to approach Emily with any concerns so instead he took it upon himself and had her yard disenfected with lemons.
The people of Jefferson feared Emily for some reason unfortunately we dont get any facts or inside Emily’s mind. Her life affected theirs. She isolated herself from society people were assuming she was going to kill herself. When Homer Barron came into town Emily resurfaced, that had the town on edge. Some ladies went to the church to inform the congregation that unwed Emily was hanging around with a man, becoming a bad example to the young people. She enjoyed Homer’s company, she did so much she never let him leave continuing her power and control in the story. Homer was powerless he was just enjoying his time with a women and his life was taken away because Emily didnt allow him to leave.
We know Emily poisoned Homer because of her outside affairs, she went to the doctor and asked for arsenic and Homer was never seen again. Well that was until Emily died. When news went around that Emily passed people were once again curious. Some went to her home to pay their respects and look around the home that no one has seen for decades. They entered Emily’s bedroom a corpse was found and beside the corpse was a pillow with a head imprint and a gray strand of hair. Emily was sleeping with a dead man’s body.
The best representation of who has power in the story is in section 4. In this section the story is told in the point of view of the people that live in the town and the person who has all the power is Emily because the towns people saw Emily with Homer Barron and when they found out they were not marrying they forced the Baptist minister to go interview Emily.
“Then some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people. The men did not want to interfere, but at last the ladies forced the Baptist minister–Miss Emily’s people were Episcopal– to call upon her. He would never divulge what happened during that interview, but he refused to go back again. The next Sunday they again drove about the streets, and the following day the minister’s wife wrote to Miss Emily’s relations in Alabama.”
This shows that Emily holds the power because the town people sent a Baptist minister to her in effort to call her out, but since Emily was Episcopal (meaning that Emily has relation to a church that is control of a Bishop) the Baptist could not do anything to her. Another part that shows the towns people have no power is when after they failed with the Baptist, the Baptist’s wife had to write the Emily’s relatives who lived in Alabama to go over to Emily.
Through out the entire section 4 it talks about Emily and her relationship with Homer Barron and gives hints on how Emily has the power in the relationship between them. the first hint is when the towns people assume that they were getting married, but Homer said that they were not getting married. It was shown later that even though Homer did not want to get married, Emily had a different mindset on that and was preparing for the wedding by buying a ring and suit for Homer.
A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner tells the story of Miss Emily, before and after her death. At first I was confused how the story was being told because 1) I was reading in a noisy environment and 2) It sounded to me that they were going straight into her past life without a clear transition. But that’s just me. Anyways, this story is divided into 5 sections in which the first takes place in Miss Emily’s funeral. I liked the imagery of the house because it makes us feel as readers, like we’re in there. Moving on forward, Miss Emily was known as the person who never went outside. She was pretty much a hermit. The reason being is that her father died and she probably doesn’t have anything to look up to anymore thus making her lock herself at home. However, Miss Emily didn’t want to accept that and went on with life with the thought of her father still being alive. Although she knew he was dead, she didn’t want to accept it which makes us think that she is “coo-coo” . This idea foreshadows later on because it was said that she suffered from an illness. Further in the story, she meets the soon to be popular, Homer Barron in which is the start of some form of love. However, she is later seen buying arsenic. Now this part showed some interest to me because it had a mystery feel to it. “Why is she buying poison?” ” What is she thinking?” “Who or what is she planning to use it on?” And the big question, “Is she going to kill herself?” Eventually, Homer and Miss Emily go off without word and it was assumed that they got hitched. Skipping the aging section of Miss Emily, after her death, Homer was found decayed on the bed of Miss Emily’s home with a lock of her gray hair thus ending the story.
To me, the story was pretty interesting. It kept me thinking even with background noise. As I mentioned earlier, questions came up especially during the poison purchase. “Why is she buying poison?” ” What is she thinking?” “Who or what is she planning to use it on?” I think now my questions have been answered and I think that she used the poison to kill Homer Barron. I can relate this story to “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell because the outcomes of each story were very similar or assumingly very similar (If she really did kill Homer). One thing I forgot to mention was that Homer brought nothing but trouble to Miss Emily because he was a reason why people looked down on her. So like “Jury of Her Peers”, the Homer/Emily relationship wasn’t too healthy leading to one spouse killing another.
A rose for Emily is a story about a woman with a mental illness. She obviously had trouble coping with reality, and couldn’t come to terms with the issues she was presented with. The story gives us a few examples of this.
When she was presented with her tax notices, and even called upon by the sheriff’s office, she paid no heed. Even when they came to her house and explained how there was no reason for her not to pay taxes, her reality held strong and what she believed in was simply the truth. When her father passed she refused to accept it, saying he was still alive. Only after three days did she finally give in and allow for his burial.
Then Homer Barron came along. She finally had someone in her life again, and now her father wouldn’t be diving him away as he had done to suitors in the past. She probably saw this as her last chance not to be alone, and must have been heartbroken when she found out he was “not a marrying man”. But, she would not accept it. She took matters into her own hands and ensured that her reality prevailed.
- a table or platform on which a coffin or dead body is placed at a funeral
A Rose for Emily, Part 5 Paragraph 2
“they held the funeral on the second day, with the town coming to look at Miss Emily beneath a mass of bought flowers, with the crayon face of her father musing profoundly above the bier and the ladies sibilant and macabre; and the very old men…”
Reading the story, I figured the word bier meant mantle, this certainly paints a different picture.
“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
page 5 of 7, line 37
to speak in a strong manner; to be harsh
as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman’s life so many times had been too virulent
(harsh) and too furious to die
The child’s father spoke in a virulent manner to prevent the child from misbehaving.