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Shvoong Home>Books>Novels & Novellas>A Rose for Emily Review

A Rose for Emily

Book Review   by:emmachow     Original Author: William Faulkner
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Book review-A Rose for Emily

A Rose for Emily is a famous novel written by William Faulkner, one of the leading American authors in the 20th century. With its smooth and thoughtful sentences, the story captured an old-tradition noble lady together with her miserable tragedy.


The narrator begins his story when it is post-civil war. In Jefferson Town, in the South, which is defeated by the North. Living in an era stuffed with explosive of conflicts between the old and new, the south and the north, one cannot fail to be exposed to the issue that everything including concept and some sense of value is gradually replaced by the new concepts from the North. Due to the restriction of the traditional ideas, some people are imprisoned in the past and ignore the passage of time, including Miss Emily.


Emily is an embodiment of the south, the old and tradition, as well as a symbol of lifeless nobility which is pacing to its end. While reading, an image of Emily appeared gradually in my mind, changing from a slim, pale young girl admired by many gentlemen to a plump, grey-haired old spinster isolated from the outside world.


In my perspective, Emily is a victim of the cultural shock. She became suppressed by the pressure of society, lonely due to the lack of support, gloomy because of the descending of her family. She searched for her superior position in wrath and grief eagerly to such an extent that she seems to be exaggerating abnormal.


Emily keeps her house in 1870s style as she regards herself as a classical noble. She is also obstinate when she refuses to pay for taxes, and even ridiculously mentions a colonel who has been dead almost ten years. Moreover, she prevents people from installing mail-box on the wall, only to keep the traditional views all the long but resists to change anything.


Somebody presume that Emily is a distorted ogress or even a cadaver sucker. While in my mind, Emily is a really pitiful lady as she loses her values for her life is confined or framed strictly in a circle by her stubborn, conservative and selfish father. When she falls in love with Homer Barron, the only thing she can do is to keep Barron in her own world so She murders him. Eventually Emily get nothing but a dead body of her lover, with whom She lay beside for years. Emily cannot adapt to an era which is changing animatedly, instead, she only be isolated to hold on her position, to keep noble which is stubborn actually. Miss Emily would have possessed a lot, if only she had opened up her heart, her life would have been like the rose, bright and beautiful.


Emily is distinctive from those female figures in western novels. She doesn’t resemble Orlando created by Virginia Woolf, who enjoys her loneliness and lives in her imagination, fighting for women rights. Yet is she like the Madame Bovary created by Flaubert who pursuing superior life endlessly. Orlando is content with her noble status and Bovary is longing to be noble blindly, while Emily is a complex character full of conflicts and uncertainty.


In brief, Emily is a defender and victim of the south tradition, yet she is against for this tradition. By reading the book A Rose for Emily, we could really gain a lot about western culture.

Published: September 23, 2012   
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