originally published in the April 30, 1930, issue of Forum.
was his first short story published in a major magazine.
is the story of an eccentric spinster, Emily Grierson.
An unnamed narrator details the strange circumstances of Emily’s life and her odd relationships with her father, her lover, and the town of Jefferson, and the horrible secret she hides.
Setting of “A Rose for Emily”
takes place in Jefferson, the county seat of Yoknapatawpha.
Jefferson is a critical setting in much of Faulkner’s fiction.
Civil War (1861-1865)
The American Civil War (ACW), also known as the War between the States or simply the Civil War (see naming), was a civil war fought from 1861 to 1865 between the United States (the "Union" or the "North") and several Southern slave states that had declared their secession and formed the Confederate States of America (the "Confederacy" or the "South"). The war had its origin in the fractious issue of slavery, and, after four years of bloody combat (mostly in the South), the Confederacy was defeated, slavery was abolished, and the difficult Reconstruction process of restoring unity and guaranteeing rights to the freed slaves began.
Homer Barron, a day worker
Wyatt (old lady)
Two of Emily's cousins
Faulkner himself modestly referred to it as a “ghost story,” but many critics recognize it as an extraordinarily versatile work.
‘‘A Rose for Emily’’ has been ‘‘read variously as a Gothic horror tale, a study in abnormal psychology, an allegory of the relations between North and South, a meditation on the nature of time, and a tragedy with Emily as a sort of tragic heroine.’’
A symbol of the South’s refusal to let die the myth of the Lost Cause
Miss Emily’s life as a tragedy
Miss Emily can't let go of the past. She tries to hold on to her father by not letting the town's people bury him, but eventually realizes that she must.
makes judgments both for and against Miss Emily, and also presents outside observations
judges Miss Emily as a fallen monument, but simultaneously as a lady who is above reproach, who is too good for the common townspeople, and who holds herself aloof.
William Faulkner speaks on "A Rose for Emily" in 1955:
I don't know whether I would have liked her or not, I might have been afraid of her. Not of her, but of anyone who had suffered, had been warped, as her life had been probably warped by a selfish father . . . .
[The title] was an allegorical title; the meaning was, here was a woman who had had a tragedy, an irrevocable tragedy and nothing could be done about it, and I pitied her and this was a salute . . . to a woman you would hand a rose.