Tag Archives: Week 2


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


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.


A Rose for Emily

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.

Analysis of Power in “A Rose for Emily”

In “A Rose for Emily,” Miss Emily is shown to have more power than frailties. Miss Emily’s power is first seen with her not paying her taxes. During Colonel Sartoris lifetime, Miss Emily was “remitted” for her taxes (Page I, p.3). However, a decade had passed since the Colonel’s death and she still believed his made up story of her father “lending money to the town” (Page I, p.3). When tax notices were sent to her from a new generation of state officials, she refused to pay. The city authorities also came to her home to confront her for her unpaid taxes but she denied the charges and drove them out of her home by stating that “she had no taxes in Jefferson” (Page I, p.8). The taxes were meant for negro women that refused to wear an apron on the streets of Jefferson (Page I, p.3), however, in the time period this story was written, I do not believe Miss Emily could get away with not paying her taxes without getting arrested by the city officials. If Miss Emily was an African American in that period of racial divide and tension, she would be severally punished for not paying her taxes. However, Faulkner addressed Miss Emily as “Miss Emily,” he never called her a “negro or nigga” woman except for the black man that was her housekeeper/maid. So, a question still remains on whether Miss Emily was an African American? Because she got away with not paying taxes until the day she died.

Another way of seeing Miss Emily’s power is when her home started to reek of an unpleasant odor (Page II, p. 3-10). The smell was so bad that people in her town, including her eighty-year-old neighbor would complain to the town’s Judge (Page II, p.4). However, the state officials refused to confront Miss Emily openly, so, four unknown men living in the town secretly sprinkled lime in her cellar door and in all the outbuildings of her home to deodorize the smell (Page II, p.11).

Therefore, I am still unsure whether Miss Emily was an African American because the town did not treat her as an outcast of society (which African Americans were seen as in that time period) but of “a duty; a care, and a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (Page I, p.3). The town officials never threaten her with imprisonment, fines, or violations; they saw that they were coming on her territory and they were not allowed to cross. She was so impervious, that she even got away with murdering her unknown suitor (which I believe to be Homer Barron) with poison and keeping the dead corpse as her sense of disillusioned comfort. The only frailty that Miss Emily exhibits in the story was her father refusing her to have a mate. Her father would “drive every young man away from her,” (Page II, p.12) “causing her to still be single at age thirty” and all alone (Page II, p.12).


Cupola  (A Rose for Emily/Section 1/Paragraph 2/Sentence 1)
Pronunciation: cu (Q)- po(Poh) -la (Lah)

-A rounded roof or part of a roof
-A small structure that is built on top of a roof.

Context: “It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies…”

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cupola

CupolaExample of a Cupola

Image Source: http://www.custombarnbuilding.com/project-gallery/components/cupolas/

A Rose for Emily

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.


Discussion: “A Rose for Emily”

In addition to reading William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” this week, please also read David Streitfeld’s New York Times blog post, “As I Lay Dying: The Web Fixes Faulkner” and think about the life of the text after the author writes it. In Streitfeld’s discussion of Faulkner’s story, he notices how the Genius.com incarnation of “A Rose for Emily” mistakenly switched a controversial word for a similar-looking word with an entirely different meaning. Commenters on that blog post engaged with what they thought should have been done differently, or critiqued Streitfeld’s argument.

One way to engage in our discussion this week would be to add an annotation about “A Rose for Emily”–some detail that you think elucidates readers’ understanding of the story–on Genius.com, and then link us there in your discussion comment and explain why you think this is important to add to the understanding of the short story.

Another way might be to write a comment on Streitfeld’s blog post in response to his argument.

Those are both very high-stakes! Lower-stakes versions could be to draft those comments on our site in this discussion and get feedback from your classmates before (or instead of?) posting them in those higher-stakes places. Or to react via a comment in our discussion to someone else’s comment on Streitfeld’s post, or to someone’s annotation on Genius.com.

But what does discussing the substitution of an r for an n in that word do to help us engage with the story? It shows that it’s relevant–Streitfeld’s  blog post was recent, from last month–and introduces us to the world of online annotations, in the form of Genius.com. To move our discussion deeper into the story, I ask you to engage in a discussion here with a second comment, about some other aspect of the story. Maybe you want to think about the effect of this different style of narration,  how it’s told, or who the characters are, or what genre you think it belongs to (if “The Story of an Hour” had certain leanings into horror, would you say “A Rose for Emily does, too?), or again, thinking of the significance of a detail in our understanding of a story.

Feel free to respond directly to any of these questions by writing in the reply box below, or reply directly to a classmate by clicking Reply below their comment.

And as always, feel free to also ask questions below.