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English 12/LIT 115 » 'A Rose For Emily' by William Faulkner

'A Rose For Emily' by William Faulkner

A Rose For Emily 'A Rose For Emily' by William Faulkner
We will focus on reader-response, psychoanalysis and gender conflict critical perspectives.

Click on the links below for the text of the story as well as supplementary material.


Judgment, pressure, or failure to live up to a name - although expectations may be inevitable, they often have tragic consequences. In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily,” a Southern antebellum town holds many expectations for its Grierson family. The narrator relates Jefferson’s changing regard for Miss Emily between her father’s death, lover’s disappearance, and final seclusion, and also assesses whether she behaves how a legendary Grierson “should”. The town’s judgmental, unrealistic expectations cause Miss Emily’s social exclusion and her descent into a solitary, crazed condition.


One of Emily Dickinson’s poems easily relates to this story:

The Soul Selects Her Own Society

The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot's pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I've known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.

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Related Links

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