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Tradition Bound Miss Emily

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Rai, Mausam

ENGL 1302

Prof. Melinda Payne

26th Sept. 2018

                                                     Tradition Bound Miss Emily

             In William Faulkner’s story “A Rose for Emily” the main character Miss Emily Grierson’s disturbed conduct leaves an audience questioning her mental status. Somehow, the narrator calling Emily Grierson as “a fallen Monument” brings a curiousness to its reader. The writer in the story tries to confess the struggle that the Miss Emily Griersons goes through while she was trying to keep up the tradition of the family. Constantly remaining the same over the years regardless of many variations in her community, Miss Emily can be considered as tradition. 

             The first part of the story tells about the Emily’s death. Nobody has made the way to her home for the decade since the death of her father, apart from the Emily’s servant. The narrator starts with the description, “It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street” (Faulkner, 498). The narrator was able to explore more about the Miss Emily’s household when tax collector showed up to collect the sum that her father had failed to pay. Thereafter narrator described about the household stuff, most of those stuff was extremely in bad condition, which again gave a sight that the house had not been accessed for many years. The officer from tax office asks miss Emily to pay the taxes that her father owed but she refused to pay and told them to see Colonel Sartoris. The narrator reveals that the Colonel Sartoris had been already dead 10 years back which is the same time as the death of her father. This shows how badly miss Emily has been affected mentally by the loss of his father.

             The second part of the story tells about the romantic side of the miss Emily life. The narrator says Miss Emily was fully protected by his father as her father sees no young boys in the city was good enough for her. Finally, when she found the one that matches her the day before the weeding he left her away which also added some more fuel to burn her mental health. In the summer after her father’s death she fell for Homer Barron, “a Yankee- a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face” (Faulkner, 501). Miss Emily was vastly criticized by many people for a reason as she was belonging to wealthy family with high standard while Barron was just a construction worker. There was a speculation that the miss Emily and Barron will tie up the knot among the people around the neighborhood. Barron left her, came back later and that was the last time people have seen him. Until one day she went to druggist and asked for the poison to kill the rat. In here we can understand, she was tired of the man using her and decided to kill her lover or either she wants to kill herself.

             The third part of the story talks about the life of miss Emily after the Barron was last seen. The narrator starts with how miss Emily started to look, “she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray. During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt irony-gray” (Faulkner, 503). This show the loss of physical as well as internal strength of miss Emily. The narrator also took a note that, “the negro grows grayer” (Faulkner, 503) referring to the worker of miss Emily. This signifies that he was the only person with miss Emily during her good and bad times. Miss Emily got older so did her servant too.

             The fourth section of the story plot about the miss Emily funeral and how neighbor made their way to see her. The people went to the room in upstairs which has not been opened for the years and what they find was, ““A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room decked and furnished as for a bridal: upon the valance curtains of faded rose color, upon the rose-shaded lights, upon the dressing table, upon the delicate array of crystal and the man’s toilet things backed with tarnished silver, silver so tarnished that the monogram was obscured. Among them lay a collar and tie, as if they had just been removed, which, lifted, left upon the surface a pale crescent in the dust. Upon a chair hung the suit, carefully folded; beneath it the two mute shoes and the discarded socks. The man himself lay in the bed” (Faulkner, 504). The very end of the story tells that there was the indentation of the head next to her “a long strand of iron-gray hair” (Faulkner, 504). From here we can assume that she might have poised the one who she was in love with and this is the only way that she can hold him.



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