Patriarchy In A Rose For Emily

Decent Essays
A Rose for Emily In the eyes of the folks who lived in Jefferson, Mississippi, Miss Emily Grierson was a very eccentric woman. She kept to herself, only employed one servant in her house, and was a shut in for the last thirty years of her life. Even before she became a recluse, the townspeople found her odd because of how she acted towards them. Emily was considered eccentric because she did things no normal woman of her station would do, and yet she still tries to hang on to her traditional ways in fear of change. Renee Curry, author of “Gender and authorial limitation in Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily,’” suggests that “Faulkner designs this narrative position as a reflection of his own stance toward patriarchal and societal structures and…show more content…
Pingping Yang, author of “A Road to Destruction and Self-destruction: The Same Fate of Emily and Elly,” describes her house as being representative of how the hegemonic lifestyle thrust upon her must be followed because “The noble parentage requires her to follow traditional rules with no doubts and behave as an elegant genteel lady, so she has to live in this house with different kinds of taboos, like a poor bird in a cage” (Yang 1850). Emily tries desperately to hold on to her values with a tight fist, but the ever-changing world suggests that some actions need to be taken to prevent others from taking away her traditions and lifestyle. This is evidenced when she turns away the tax collectors who come to her house after she ignores the letters being sent to her about the unpaid dues her family has in Jefferson. With her father dead and no husband to speak of, Emily handles what would normally be a male responsibility herself. She speaks over the collectors and sternly tells them “See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson” before asking her manservant to put them out (Faulkner 795). Nick Melczarek, author of “ Narrative Motivation in Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily,’” suggests this is where Faulkner begins to insert the stream of consciousness, because while the narrator is “seeking to escape blame,” he is “able to admit what the townspeople found and hint at their own possible…show more content…
To put it bluntly, Emily is an aristocratic Southern Belle and Homer is a sidewalk builder from the North. “The townsfolk view Emily simultaneously as an idee fixe and a bete noir whose cruising with Homer Barron they monitor” (Melczarek 240). The older folks would say that Emily, in the wake of her father’s death, was forgetting “Noblesse Oblige,” or nobility obligations (Faulkner 797). Of course Emily had had suitors more suited for her in the past, but she decided it was Homer she wanted. The narrator comments, “She carried her head high enough – even when we believed that she was fallen” (797). Then, when Homer prepares to go back North, the townspeople are suddenly in her corner and pity her when Homer disappears. No one would have ever suspected that Emily Grierson was capable of murder, much less keeping that murder a secret for over thirty years. Under the watchful, judging eyes of the townspeople, she kept up the pretense that she was a sane-minded, upper class individual, while she spiraled privately into a heinous madness that would claim the life of her beloved. Through stream of consciousness, the townspeople show the reader how Emily’s descent was as much their fault as it was
Get Access