Miss Emily, Imaged as Goddess, in "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

University essay from Sektionen för humaniora (HUM)

Abstract: In my essay I will discuss the role of the main character, Miss Emily, in the short story "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner. The short story was written in 1930 and takes place in the small town of Jefferson, in the south of the USA. Miss Emily is the only person remaining of the Grierson family, a family seen as mighty, as it used to be wealthy and had a prominent position in the town, and therefore she considers herself as finer than the other townspeople. As a result, she never marries and keeps to herself most of the time. The story stretches over most of Miss Emily‟s life and the narrator focuses on her. When she in the end dies, it is revealed that she had poisoned her lover and slept next to the dead body for forty years. In this essay I suggest that Miss Emily is imaged as a goddess and I will try to show evidence for that by pointing out religious references in the text as well as by discussing the important role of the narrator. I will argue that due to the Grierson family‟s history being of importance to the town, the prominence of Miss Emily‟s looks, and the way she acts imply that she is seen by the townspeople as a goddess. Moreover, Miss Emily‟s relationship with Homer Barron and the description of her house will be analyzed to strengthen the idea that Miss Emily could be linked to divinity. In my view, if Miss Emily is perceived as a goddess, she is bound to emerge as more than a mentally disturbed woman who killed her lover.

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