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A Haunting Past in Faulkner's A Rose of Emily Essay

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A Haunting Past In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily” Miss Emily Grierson holds on to the past with a grip of death. Miss Emily seems to reside in her own world, untarnished by the present time around her, maintaining her homestead as it was when her father was alive. Miss Emily’s father, the manservant, the townspeople, and even the house she lives in, shows that she remains stuck in the past incapable and perhaps reluctant to face the present. At the beginning of the story, the reader learns that Miss Emily “is portrayed as ’a fallen monument,’… because she has shown herself susceptible to death (and decay) after all” (West 264). The house can also be perceived as a “fallen monument”(Faulkner 81) as the narrator…show more content…
He is seen by the townspeople carrying things in from the market, working around the house now and again, and the only person to have contact with Miss Emily during this time. When the Board of Aldermen visited Miss Emily about the taxes she refused to pay, they were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse- a close, dank smell. When the Negro opened the blinds of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked, and when they sat down, a faint dust rose sluggishly about their thighs, spinning with slow motes in the single sun-ray. On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily’s father.(Faulkner 82)

Miss Emily “just stood at the door listening quietly until the spokesman came to a stumbling halt.

Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain”(Faulkner 82). The

watch is very symbolic given that Miss Emily does not want to move on with the times, but if the

reader will look at the “idiom of having something or someone "in one's pocket," that is, under

one's personal control”(Schwab 215) then one might come to the realization that Miss Emily is even trying to control time. “The watch's placement in her pocket, its unusually loud ticking, and the chain to which it is attached illustrate both her attempts to control the passage
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