“A Rose for Emily” is a short story in which Faulkner has clearly portrayed human condition through the life of the story’s protagonist, Miss Emily. Throughout the short story, Emily Grierson is portrayed as a person who lives in the past and on the dark side of life. The story explains Emily’s family history through her father in detail. Emily’s father is described as a man who embraces the past and lacks any desire to move along with the changing society. This is the main reason why the human condition of Emily is presented as backward and weird compared to other people in the town. The influence her father has on her makes her lead an old-fashioned way of life, and be segregated from other community members.
Faulkner tries to show that close people who matter to one can influence their human condition greatly. Socially, Miss Emily cannot start any kind of intimate relationship because her father does not allow it. However, every human being has the desire to feel loved and protected. This is the main reason why Emily goes ahead and falls in love with Homer. However, when she realizes that Homer might leave her because her two female cousins had a strong influence on him, she plans to poison him and continues sleeping with his corpse for over forty years. This shows how dark a human condition can become because of segregation and lack of acceptance from other people. Faulkner also portrays human beings, especially women, as people who have fears, but are curious enough to understand the dark side of human condition. This is shown through the way other women treat Emily as an isolated person. We are in fact told that no one ever dares enter her apartment. However, when she dies, many women go to her burial to see what is hidden in her apartment.
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On the other hand, Faulkner has portrayed men as people who respect and give some privileges to people with a dark human condition. We are told that women keep complaining to men about the bad smell which comes out of Miss Emily’s apartment, but no one dares tell her openly about it. In fact, they find their own means of getting rid of the foul smell which emanated from her apartment. When Emily dies, many men gather for her burial showing they respected her for her obscure way of life. At the beginning of the story, we are told that Emily has the privilege of not paying taxes to the town mayor because of her weird way of life. It can be said that Faulkner has used Miss Emily as the main character in successfully portraying the dark side of human condition.
The main theme of this short story is the relationship between the past and the present in the story’s protagonist Emily Grierson. Faulkner has used this theme in supporting a dark side of human condition. It is clear that Emily lives on the dark side of life because she has embraced her father’s old-fashioned way of life. This is why she cannot establish any meaningful social relations in her community and hence leads a lonely and reclusive life. Emily has totally embraced the past and refused to change along with other people. This is why she spends three days with her father’s dead body in her house, as she does not want the past to move away from her. In conclusion, Emily finally dies because her life loses the meaning when her father passes away with all the past trends of life and hence Emily can not fit in the changed community.
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