Isolationism, Living Death, and Emily Grierson
Steven J. Bermudez
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” tells a gothic tale of the gradual death and symbolic decay of its title character, Emily Grierson, the last of a respectable family of the old Southern aristocracy. In retaliation against the town’s dehumanizing perspective of her as a “tradition,” a cultural icon, and a symbol of the fading grandeur of Southern gentility instead of as a human being, Emily rejects society and its expectations of her, preferring the company of the corpse her poisoned Yankee lover, Homer, whose body is discovered in her bed after her death. This paper will examine the imagery used by Faulkner, such as the cadaverous appearance of Emily and the tomblike qualities of her house, and Faulkner’s presentation of the plot, through which he alludes to the surprise ending of the discovery of Homer’s corpse while keeping the secret obscured by distortion of the story’s chronology.
Keywords: William Faulkner, Emily Grierson, death, imagery, chronology
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Location: VH 1320