Do you think some people can love another so much that they simply cannot bear for that person to leave? Is it possible Emily was like this?
I think Emily, after a lifetime of isolation, couldn’t bear for Homer to leave her. Her father kept her away from all possible suitors and then he died on her. She didn’t want to let her father’s body be buried. I think that when Homer came along, she couldn’t bear to let him go.
Can a disturbed person be in love? Does love have to be healthy? Is sanity culturally defined? Can you imagine a society that would accept Emily’s behavior?
I think that disturbed people can be in love. But love has to be healthy otherwise it is obsession. Emily was obsessed with Homer and that is why she killed him so he wouldn’t leave her. I think that sanity is culturally defined. Some behavior that one culture would think is absolutely crazy and socially unacceptable would be thought of as normal in another culture. I cannot imagine a society that would sanction Emily killing her lover and preserving his body.
Who do you think the narrator of “A Rose for Emily” is? Why would Faulkner tell the story from this perspective? Why not from Emily’s?
I think that the narrator is one of Emily’s contemporaries. The narrator knew a lot about Emily’s life and her relationship with her father. They were able to sympathize with her in a way that someone from a younger generation may not have been able to. I think that Faulkner chose to tell it from this perspective because the story is not just about Emily, but about the changing South and this changing community.
Look at the last sentence of paragraph 51. What do you think of the five adjectives used? Are they understandable in terms of the story? “Dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil and perverse” These adjectives are understandable. The town knows that something isn’t right in Miss Emily’s home. They suspect a lot of foul things are going, but because of her family and what it meant to their community they allow her to live in peace. So in a way, Emily doesn’t have to change with the time and she is allowed to commit her crime or crimes in peace.
Some critics think this story is not a love story but a political allegory about the South. Does this make sense to you? What else does the story suggest to you?
The story is definitely not a love story. I think that it is allegory about the changing customs and manners of the South. Emily represents the South. She doesn’t want change. She doesn’t want to pay her taxes because she never had to. She doesn’t want to bury her father because he had always been a part of her life. The story also suggests that change is necessary to maintain a healthy environment. If Emily had been able to adapt to change, perhaps she wouldn’t have murdered Homer and preserved him.
Comment on the various kinds of repression—social and psychological that occur throughout the story. What connections can you draw, and what generalizations might you make about them? I hesitate to paint Emily as a victim of repression, but she is very much constrained by the mores of her society. If she had lived in a different time and in a different place, it would have been acceptable for her to leave her father’s house when she came of age. She wouldn’t have had to rely on marriage as her only possible escape from her domineering father. If she had lived in a less repressive age, she might have been able to attend college and have a career of her own.
Reread, “A Rose for Emily.” How does your knowledge of the story affect your second reading? What details of the narrative tend to stand out the second time around? On a second reading, the foul smell of Miss Emily’s home stands out. It makes me wonder who else she might have killed.