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“ A Rose for Emily ” By: William Faulkner. William Faulkner (1897-1962)

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Presentation on theme: "“ A Rose for Emily ” By: William Faulkner. William Faulkner (1897-1962)"— Presentation transcript:

1 “ A Rose for Emily ” By: William Faulkner

2 William Faulkner ( )

3 Biography Born in Oxford, Mississippi. Never Finished High school. Enlisted in the British Royal Flying Corps, but WWI ended before he had a chance at combat. Wrote screenplays in Hollywood to make money. Won a Noble Prize in literature for “his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel“ in 1949.

4 Biography Oxford, MS, helped him create the fictional county Yoknapatawpha. Moved to New Orleans and befriended another author Sherwood Anderson. Anderson encouraged Faulkner to move forward in his writing & helped Faulkner get his first novel Soldier’s Pay published. Faulkner wrote screenplays in the 1930s and 1940s in Hollywood to earn extra money. In 1948, Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for Intruder in the Dust.

5 Southern Gothic Faulkner refined the genre of Southern Gothic Literature that builds on the traditions of the larger Gothic genre, typically including supernatural elements, mental disease, and the grotesque. Often deals with the plight of those who are ostracized or oppressed by traditional Southern culture, especially blacks and women.

6 Literary Devices Stream of Consciousness Foreshadowing Symbolism Ambiguity Allegory

7 Stream of Consciousness Faulkner is known for his use of stream of consciousness in his works. The story is read like a townsperson is telling the story of Emily. It is like listening to his/her thoughts.

8 Flashbacks Faulkner is known for the use of flashbacks in his writing, as seen extensively in “A Rose for Emily.” For example, the story begins at her funeral and then jumps to the Board of Aldermen appearing at Emily’s house demanding taxes. What other flashbacks appear in the story?

9 Chronological Order Appropriately, the story begins with death, flashes back to the near distant past and leads on to the demise of a woman and the traditions of the past she personifies. After carefully building such descriptive statements, Faulkner flashes back in time and examines the events that lead up to the moment of death. This toggling of events has been skillfully constructed, building suspense in a way that a straight forward chronology could not.

10 Foreshadowing An example of foreshadowing is when Emily buys rat poisoning which is later seen as the cause of Homer’s death. [What is the irony of her response to the druggist about a rat?] What is another example of foreshadowing in “A Rose for Emily”?

11 Foreshadowing In the opening characterization, many descriptive words foreshadow the ultimate irony at the climatic ending. “Her skeleton was small and sparse” “She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue.”

12 Foreshadowing “Her voice was dry and cold” and she did not accept no for an answer. Her house, a fading photograph, “smelled of dust and disuse—a closed, dank smell,” and when her guests are seated a “faint dust” rises “sluggishly about their thighs.” All of these terms suggest neglect, decay, entropy

13 South Faulkner despised slavery and racism, but he admired much of the chivalry and honor of the old South. Wealthy northern businessmen were called Robber Barons, as they were called in those days. That could possibly be where Homer Baron got his name.

14 Symbolism The Grierson house is used to symbolize Miss Emily's physical attributes. The house is described as “smelling of dust and disuse,“ Evidence of Emily's own aging is given when her voice in similarly said to be "harsh, and rusty, as if from disuse.” At the time of Emily's death, the house is seen by the townspeople as "an eyesore among eyesores," Miss Emily is regarded as a "fallen monument.” Both are empty, and lifeless.

15 Symbolism Just as their physical characteristics, Faulkner uses the Grierson house as a symbol for Miss Emily's change in social status. In its prime, the house was "big," and "squarish," and located on Jefferson's "most select street" This description gives the reader the impression that the residence was not only extremely solid, but also larger than life, almost gothic in nature. The prestige and desirability of the Grierson house fell right along side Miss Emily's diminishing name. The members of the Grierson family, especially Emily, were also considered to be strong and powerful. The townspeople regarded them as regal.

16 Symbolism Faulkner also Grierson house is used to symbolize Emily Grierson's unwillingness to accept change. A good example of this occurred when representatives were sent to her home to collect her delinquent taxes. She completely rejected her responsibility to the town by referring the men to a time when the since departed mayor, Colonel Sartoris, "remitted her taxes" the house is presented as "Lifting its stubborn and Coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and gasoline pumps". The cotton wagons and gasoline pumps in this description are undoubtedly used to symbolize what Emily must surely see as the mostly unimportant and purposeless townspeople. This single comparison by itself provides indisputable evidence that Emily Grierson and her family's house are strongly related with one another.

17 Ambiguity “I want some poison,” she said to the druggist. She was over thirty then, still a slight woman, through thinner than usual, with cold, haughty black eyes in a face the flesh of which was strained across the temple and about the eye sockets as you imagine a lighthouse-keeper’s face out to look. “I want some poison,” she said. Emily never mentions what she will use the poison for. But when the druggies asks her what she was going to do Emily only looks at him.

18 Ambiguity Homer Barron is a Northerner who is not married to Emily, however Emily teats Homer like a husband because she buys him expensive things such as the silver toilet seat and clothes.

19 Allegory Some readers have interpreted the story as an allegory of the relations between the North and the South. This is apparent because the character of Homer Barron is a Yankee and Emily kills him.

20 North and South Allegory Living in Mississippi, Emily represents the part of the South that does not want to change after the Civil War. Homer Barron does not want to be tied down to Emily and tradition, which represents the North’s willingness to change. As the town changes, she becomes known as the recluse with a secret. Emily’s killing Homer represents the South’s unwillingness to accept the new things to come.

21 Chronological Order Miss Emily is born. She and her father ride around the town in an old, elegant carriage. Her father dies, and for three days she refuses to acknowledge his death. Homer Barron arrives in town and begins to court Miss Emily. She buys a man’s silver toilet set—a mirror, brush, and comb—and men’s clothing. The town relegates her to disgrace and sends for her cousins. The cousins arrive, and Homer leaves town. Three days after the cousins leave, Homer returns. Miss Emily buys poison at the local drug store. Homer disappears. A horrible stench envelops Miss Emily’s house. Four town aldermen secretly sprinkle lime on her lawn.


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