Revenge for Emily

4 April 2015
An analysis of the reasons for murder in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily.

This paper argues that William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” can be interpreted by either looking at Emily’s genetic history and family life, or by looking at the society that she lives in. Interpreting according to the above two styles or by combining both styles of reading, the argument is made that Emily is a victim, and that she kills out of revenge. This paper uses and cites two outside critical sources.
Watching the evening news and reading the morning newspaper, one is bombarded by tragic, sometimes mysteriously twisted and brutal tales of homicide. More often than not such tales are accompanied by a biography of the murderer themselves which is equally, if not more, tragic and twisted. In many cases, the murderers are actually painted as the first victim in a crime committed as an inevitable consequence of their victimization. In William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily Emily Grierson and her murder of Homer Barron exemplifies the tragedy of one such situation. Is Emily a victim of her own psyche, and its contributing factors? Or is Emily merely a victim of an unstable, judgmental society who pushed her over the edge? Depending on how one reads this story an argument can be made for either interpretation.
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