It is common for an individual to find comfort in familiar surroundings after being faced with a traumatic experience. In William Faulkner A Rose for Emily, the subject of the story is Emily Grievers, whose family in the South was once considered to be the closest thing to true aristocracy. Email’s father had been an affluent man who believed that nobody was good enough to marry his daughter; he warded off any of her suitors, leaving Emily in solitude and possibly mentally unstable when he died.
Two years after Email’s father’s death, an allegedly gay Yankee laborer, Homer Barron, entered her life. The men and women of the town were intrigued that a Grievers was interacting with a male beneath their class. Simultaneously, Emily cousins from Alabama were called upon by the church to end Emily relationship with Homer and to clear the family name, Emily was spotted buying arsenic, and little later a mans night shirt, a toilet set with Homer’s initials.
Rumors spread that she was gong to kill herself, and then that she would marry Homer after all. When Email’s cousins left, Homer was last seen entering Email’s kitchen or at night before he disappeared for good. Shortly after Homers disappearance, a rancid aroma coming from Emily yard induced the town elders to sprinkle lime around her property. About ten years later, to provide Emily with an income, the people of the town sent their children to her home for her china painting classes for a while.
Later, it came to the city council’s attention that she was destitute and would continuously dismiss her tax payments. After Emily death, and funeral, a withered corpse wearing the nightshirt that Emily had purchased when she was seeing Homer, was covered in her father’s old bed room. The pillow next to the corpse had an indentation, as if someone had been routinely sleeping there, and on the pillow, they found a distinct, iron gray strand of Email’s hair.
Faulkner creates an allegory about reluctance to change by using the symbolism of Emily house, her failure to pay taxes, and her response to the deaths of her father and Homer Barron. Faulkner goes into detail about the grandiose nature of the Grievers house, to describe Email’s failure to accept change. Email’s home was rather obsolete in comparison to the other homes in the neighborhood. He writes it was decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the [heavily some style] of the seventies,” which was considered outdated compared to the style of the current generation.
When the other homes in the neighborhood were being revalidated with free postal delivery, “Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door,” in this instance, Emily remained intransigent, and her home keeps it’s “stubborn and coquettish decay. ” The Grievers house was symbolic of the power of Emily family history, and the house is also the last remnant she had of her deceased father, and the family’s wealth. Emily, like the house, refuses to conform to the new generations, and never seems to yield to the fact that the world around her is changing.
Faulkner also exemplifies Email’s reluctance to change through her failure to pay taxes. Emily is totally lackadaisical for the future; she most certainly loses the concept of time. When the city authorities come to tell her that she no longer can avoid her tax payments, she simply dispatches them by saying “See Colonel Sartorial. I have no taxes in Jefferson,” though Colonel Sartorial been dead for nearly ten years. Colonel Sartorial was the mayor of town; who emitted Emily after her fathers death, and made up the story about the taxes being a form of compensation for Emily fathers’ previous loan to the town.
Their arrangement was suppose to be effective “dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. ” However, this arrangement dissatisfied the next generation of town officials, with their more modern ideas, and they demand that Emily to pay her taxes. Email’s failure to acknowledge her taxes symbolizes her reluctance to leave the past and her denial of the way her life changed. In addition to Email’s home, and her failure to pay taxes, the deaths of Email’s father and Homer Barron also symbolize that she is abstinent to change. After the death of her father, she becomes distant and aloof, and denies it to the townspeople for three days. Just as they were about to resort to law and force. She broke down, and they buried her father quickly. ” Emily wants to keep her father’s because she cannot face his death; she wants to live her life routinely with her father just as she did all of her life, even if it means with his corpse. She is not ready to accept that he was gone for good, which is why Emilee attempt to keep her fathers body symbolizes her disinclination to change. Similarly to the death of Emily father, it is difficult for Emily to fathom living life without Homer Barron. Emily has been raised as Southern gentility, while Homer is a Northern Yankee.
She and Homer date and possibly are happy with each other, but the customs, traditions, Homers sexual orientation, and the prejudices of the south doom this affair to end. Under these conditions, Emily cannot live with Homer, but she cannot live without him, so she resorts to poisoning him with arsenic. Emily needs someone to love her eternally and someone to love; she fears being abandoned. Not wanting to lose another man close to her the way she lost ere father, she feels she can truly be with Homer forever by keeping Homer’s corpse, so she can be with him forever, and she can preserve their imaginary relationship.
Homer Baron’s death symbolizes Email’s insane reluctance to change because Emily prefers sleeping with Homers withered corpse rather than admit her lonely, spinster life to herself. It is clear that Emily had been through a lot in her life, and her way of coping was resisting change in every way. Emily illustrates by her evasion of taxes, her act of necrophilia with Homer Barron, and her failure to adapt to the neighborhood’s construction, that she is resistant to change.