Sample Scholarship Essays

Rose For Emily

Rose For Emily “A Rose for Emily” By William Faulkner Reading this atypical piece of work entitled “A Rose for Emily”, written by William Faulkner encourages a sense of thrill and stimulation within. Since Mr. Faulkner resided in Mississippi most of his writings reflect his home state, as does “A Rose for Emily”. The first person minor point of view is being told by the townspeople. The main character, Miss Emily, in this short gothic story that took place during the early 1900 hundreds demonstrated a conflict she was having with herself.

I think that it is well known that our parents are the backbone to each persons existence. Knowing this, William Faulkner managed to include through the events in the plot an underlining message mixed with a little flowered mockery. Although, Ms. Emily committed murder, she was a victim of her learned environment because of her father and the citizens of Jefferson. This story revolved around one town and one main character.

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The beginning of this womans well to do life in a poor southern state consisted only of herself and her domineering father living in the same house until the calling of God summoned her elsewhere. Miss Emily managed to make it to age thirty still being single with only the help of her father and “she would.. continue to cling to that which had robbed her”(472). The towns people assumed that “none of the young men were quite good enough for Ms. Emily and such”(471). When the only person in Emilys life passed on, she stood in denial and refused condolences an aid to bury her father from the town ladies.

The damage that her father had bestowed upon her by sheltering her from the rest of the world was starting to emerge at the time of his death. By over-protecting Emily and “clutching a horsewhip”(471) to control her life, caused her to become hermit-like in the town she grew up in and knew very well. This creator of Emily must have lead her life for her in every way, fore when he exited the earth, he managed to take a big part of her with him. I believe this caused a confused state in which Emily really didnt know herself, causing her to be so afraid of being alone that townspeople were “trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body.. for three days”(471). Emily came upon and involved herself with a second male figure that turned out to be her lover.

In the end Emily poisons her lover to keep him from leaving her. The fulfilling plot is retold by the townspeople as if they were all reflecting upon her life and the things they remembered. By the author reflecting back, using the whole town, it gave the story a sense of upcoming purpose. The climax continued to climb starting “when the smell developed”(470) to Emily purchasing the arsenic and finally the very end when the realization was put forth by “a long strand of iron-gray hair”(475) implying that she really killed Homer. The authors tone carried sympathy for Emily as stated by the townspeople, when they said “poor Emily”(472) several times. The characterization of Emily was also provided by the description of her house that had once been white, decorated with a nice roof, steeple, and”scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies”(469), compared to the current portrait given of “an eye sore among eyesores”(469).

The townspeople who “had begun to feel really sorry for her”(471), along with her father, all provided an external unhealthy motivation that is responsible for her unthinkable actions of murdering Homer. A mixture of simple to read sentences along with minor dialog made the story easy to understand. I felt the style of writing provided a spirited suspense by not letting on that Homer was dead until the closing paragraphs. For me, stories like that keep me reading until the very end. A story like this, that took place in the south during the early 1900 hundreds basically got away with murder.

If the setting for this story would have been present day 2000, it would have upset and infuriated some readers for the fact that a crime was committed and no one were prosecuted. The town officials would have carried more of the blame for not finding out the real cause of that smell. The black servant would have also been charged for not reporting the murder. Basically, any other time and place would have caused the story to lose its effectiveness. Looking past all the literary elements except the theme, which contained the most meaning relating back to Emilys surroundings. The death of her father constructed a mental milestone in her life in which she would continue to build upon in an unhealthy manner.

She carried the haunting presence of father with her, and had always maintained a love/hate attitude regarding her father and the sheltering life style he provided for her. The citizens of Jefferson contributed to Emilys demise by befriending her in times of need, and whispering about her instead of helping her. If Emily really meant that much for the whole town to attend her passing then they should have been there to support and comfort her and not “out of curiosity to see the inside of her house”(469). If the men really had respect for her while she was still living then they would have welcomed her to social gatherings. None of this occurred; in thus, making Emily the towns laughing monument during her breathing years.

Emily deeply needed to “become humanized”(471) and love someone and to be loved since the passing of her father “left her all alone and a pauper”(471). Emily must have known that the end of her relationship with Homer was drawing near, other wise she would not have already had the arsenic on hand. Following her unthinkable actions to finally take control of a situation, she invited the towns children to her newly created studio within her home and taught them china painting. This was Emilys last attempt to be giving to the community and in turn calm her loneness. Then “the pupils had grown up…

and did not sent their children to her… for china painting lessons so her door closed and remained closed”(474). Citing this example is another way the town had turned their back on her. Over the years the word had got out that Emily was a crazy person and I am sure that is why there were no further students sent to her. The entire concept of a rose is interesting with possibly two meanings.

Roses are beautiful with a meaning of love and respect along with hope and courage. Even though roses have such meaning, they also have thorns. Roses and their thorns symbolize her life as a whole. The petals being her fathers love that protected her, the thorns being “all the young men her father had driven away”(472) and comparing it to the affection she had for Homer that he did not carry for her. It makes sense that Emily lived her life like a rose.

Another symbolic item about the title is that it only states “A Rose”, meaning one. One rose symbolizes simplicity and the fact that all she really wanted was a normal and simple life with out loneness. This single rose happens to be Homer and Emily dries him out and keeps him. The purpose of the story is that life is unpredictable and we are all products of our environment. Some of us choose not to let an unfortunate way of life rule us, Miss Emily on the other hand did not have self-esteem, self-worth and confidence to persuade her otherwise. She had been ruled by her father, deemed a crazy woman by the town and lost many men that had come calling her.

The one man that she held somewhat of a relationship with was going to leave her and her only solution in order to hold onto him was to do the unthinkable and murder him to keep him from leaving like all the rest. In this day an age, Emily would have been diagnosed with mental disorder, which would have required her to contend with her separation anxiety behavior that stemmed from the nucleus of her family, primarily her father. In the beginning Emily was being controlled and in the end Emily learned to control. Sociology teaches that everything is a learned behavior, including the environment in which we are harvested from. I would also like to imply that it is impossible to kill without creating conditions for your own murder.

Miss Emily may have thought that by administering the rat poison to Homer she would finally get and keep what she always wanted regardless of a beating heart. But in the end she was still alone from being victimized by her environment and that added to her decline.

Rose For Emily

Only when the present has become the past can we reflect on what we could have
or should have done. Yet our society is so obsessed with keeping track of time
that we spend millions of dollars a year to keep a set of atomic clocks ticking
the time. These clocks are so accurate that they must be reset once a year to
correct for the earth’s imperfect orbit. Our base-60 measure of time is an
abstract idea dating from the Babylonians. All this, and what most human minds
intrinsically understand about time is the past, present and future. I say most
minds, because not every mind does comprehend these abstract ideas. Many people
are able to survive in the present, but give little or no thought to the future,
and these people usually live in the past. Such a mind is the mind of Miss Emily
Grierson in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily. Emily Grierson survives in the
present, but lives in the past. The morbid ending is foreshadowed by the story’s
opening with Miss Emily Grierson’s death and funeral. The bizarre outcome is
further emphasized throughout by the symbolism of the decaying house, which
parallels Miss Emily’s physical deterioration and demonstrates her ultimate
mental disintegration. Her life, like the house which decays around her is a
direct result of living in the past. Part of living is death, and the future
conjures life, the past, and death. Emily’s imbalance of past and present causes
her to confuse the living with the dead. Perhaps the most prominent example of
Emily’s confusion is the carcass of Homer Barron lying in the honeymoon room of
Emily’s house. This division is exemplified by the symbolic imagery of Faulkner.

The rose colored room, a color of life, is covered thickly with dust, a symbol
of death. Of course, this is not the first time we learn of Emily’s confusion.

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Previous to Barron’s discovery, her father dies, and she denies that he is dead.

Faulkner gives the reader a taste of this confusion early on when Miss Emily
instructs the town tax-collectors to consult with Colonel Sartoris about her
taxes, though he had been dead for ten years. At this foreboding point in the
story, Emily seems to be a senile old maid; this could not be further from the
truth. The external characteristics of Miss Emily’s house parallel her physical
appearance to show the transformation brought about by years of neglect. For
example, the house is located in what was once a prominent neighborhood that has
deteriorated. Originally white and decorated in “the heavily lightsome
style” of an earlier time, the house has become “an eyesore among
eyesores”. Through lack of attention, the house has evolved from a
beautiful representative of quality to an ugly holdover from another era.

Similarly, Miss Emily has become an eyesore; for example, she is first described
as a “fallen monument”, to suggest her former grandeur and her later
grotesqueness. Like the house, she has lost her beauty. Once she had been
“a slender figure in white”; later she is obese and “bloated,
like a body long submerged in motionless water with eyes lost in the fatty
ridges of her face”. Both house and occupant have suffered the ravages of
time and neglect. The interior of the house also parallels Miss Emily’s
increasing degeneration and the growing sense of sadness that accompanies such
decay. Initially, all that can be seen of the inside of the house is “a dim
hall from which a staircase mounted into still more shadow” with the house
smelling of “dust and disuse”. The darkness and the smell of the house
connect with Miss Emily, “a small, fat woman in black” with a voice
that is “dry and cold” as if it were dark and dusty from disuse like
the house. The similarity between the inside of the house and Miss Emily extends
to the “tarnished gilt easel” with the portrait of her father and Miss
Emily “leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head”. Inside
and out, both the building and the body in which Miss Emily live are in a state
of deterioration like tarnished metal. Finally, the townspeople’s descriptions
of both house and occupant reveal a common intractable arrogance. At one point
the house is described as “stubborn” as if it were ignoring the
surrounding decay. Similarly, Miss Emily proudly overlooks the deterioration of
her once grand residence. This motif recurs as she denies her father’s death,
refuses to discuss or pay taxes, ignores town gossip about her being a
“fallen woman,” and does not tell the druggist why she is purchasing
arsenic. Both the house and Miss Emily become traps for that strongest
representative of the twentieth century, Homer Barron, laborer, outsider,
confirmed bachelor. Just as the house seems to reject progress and updating, so
does Miss Emily, until both of them become decaying anachronisms. Through
descriptions of the house that resemble descriptions of Miss Emily Grierson,
“A Rose for Emily” emphasizes the way that beauty and elegance can
become grotesquely distorted through neglect and lack of love. In this story,
the house deteriorates for forty years until it becomes ugly; Miss Emily’s
physical and emotional condition dissipate in a similar manner.


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