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Emily Archive 1

Archive of Postings from a 9th grade Class in Mexico (ITESM.CCM.ENGLISH 9, February, 1998)

Notice to Readers: This archive preserves, generally without editing, some of the commentary of students studying American literature for the first time. English is not their native language, but they easily understand the language of "the human heart in conflict with itself," as Faulkner called it. Consider these comments for their insights, keeping in mind the youth of the commentators. For educators, this archive also reveals something of what Stephen Krashen called an "interlanguage," an approximation of native facility with a second language, which gets successively more native with practice.

See also a British student's essay on some of the symbols in the story.  Though roundabout and erratic, the essay does sustain the motifs of Emily's resisting the passage of time, as well as the decay that results despite her efforts.

Thanks to the teacher (Keith H.?) for having the class use the forum. 
--Eric Hibbison, Projector Director for Literature Online (1998)

Index for This One-Page Archive

Symbolism  |  The Rose  |  The RatEmily's Life  |  Morality  |  Insanity  |  Loneliness  |  Isolation  | 

The Town  |   The Hair Hidden Personality Monument  |  Class  |  Her Father  |  Change

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Symbolism in "A Rose for Emily"

Erika Cervantes: I think that the murder was a symbolic escape from the sad and lonely life Emily live always. Follow-up: I think that the rose is a symbol of how life is so weak and so short. This was the life of Emily--too short and too weak

Lorena Sosa:  Murder is a big crime that can not be seen like normal, however before you judge a murderer, you should know the causes and circumstances that make him commit the crime. For example in Miss Emily's case, she was so afraid of Homer to abandon her and being alone again, that she prefer to kill him, and keep his body.

ITZEL PEREZ: IN THIS STORY I THINK THAT HOMER'S DEAD CAN BE SEE AS A SYMBOLISM ABOUT THE TERRIBLE CONSERVATIVE SOCIETY IN WHICH EMILY LIVED, THE PEOPLE USED TO THINK IN A VERY TRADITIONAL WAY MAKING ALL THE PERSONS TO DON'T ACT AS THEMSELVES JUST AS THE WAY PEOPLE WANT THEM TO ACT TO BE ACCEPTED. SO MORE THAN SAYING THAT KILLING IS AN ACT OF CRIME, IN THIS STORY IT SHOULD BE SEEN AS THE EXPLOITATION THAT A PERSON, EMILY HAD, BREAKING ALL SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS RULES. SHE KILLED HIM, SO? THE MAIN POINT IS TO THINK ON HOW SOCIAL PRESSURE CAN MAKE SOMEONE TO DO WHAT EMILY DID, HOMER WAS OUT OF THE RULES SHE HAD TO FOLLOW BECAUSE OF HOMER SOCIAL POSITION, AND BECAUSE OF THAT SHE HAD AN OBSESSION WITH HIM, ALSO BECAUSE HER NEED OF LOVE.

Karla A.: The mentality of Miss Emily was affected by the society in which she lived. She had a tragic life, one of the reasons was her father´s dead; we can notice this because when he died she denies it. She didn´t want to feel alone and when Homer tried to left her she prefers to kill him instead of feeling alone.

Heinz: I also think it is bad that someone takes the life of another person, but you have to understand that the father of Emily, make almost the same with her, except he didn´t kill her. The Father didn´t do anything to Emily she must stay at home all the time, so when she realizes that Homer want to live her, she kill him, because she thinks that was correct for her. She tries to imitate her father.

The Rose

Romina Guevera: Everyone of us have a different perception about what is the meaning of a rose in "A Rose for Emily". My opinion is that it represents a kind of tribute to a woman like Emily, because she had a very difficult life, and although she always was in her house, all the town knew about her. Emily´s death was very important in the little town where she lived, because she was a classic there. Even though she did not have any friend there, people appreciate her and gave her a rose with the objective that she knew that they never will forget her.

Marco Zazueta: The rose is very important in this story, because a rose is full of symbolism, color and passion. I think the rose mean that Emily needed somebody to love, she needed a rose from a person. Every body in the town always saw her like a monument, and not like a normal person, with dreams like everyone else.

Amelia Z, Cecilia P, Romina G: The title of "A Rose for Emily" is ironic because it represents a contrast between Emily´s life and the significance or symbol that a rose represents. Emily´s life was very tragic, dramatic, lonely and empty. On the other hand a rose represents love, life, happiness and passion. It may be like a sweet gift for a frustrated woman.

WB01395_.gif (262 bytes)Carlos C.: I think that the rose is a very good object that Faulkner, uses to give a deeper meaning to the story. For example, probably Homer is a rose for Emily who dries him out and keeps him. Also the rose can symbolize life and that death is everywhere.

WB01395_.gif (262 bytes)Lola Reyero: I think that another symbolism is the draw of the father, because it represents the love and dependence that Emily has to the figure of her father.

Nareni Meuly: The rose is a symbolic element that Faulkner uses in the title. Miss Emily did not receive a rose in her life, so it represents the love that she never had, it is ironical, isn't it? Another symbolism is the fight between the North and South. Homer represents the North and Emily who murdered him the South. I hope I would have helped you.

Patrick: My reply is to endure the idea that the house is big part of the symbolism, but I also think that her attitude towards everything is involved by her fathers death made from a rich life style.

Eugenio O.: The rose represent Homer, that he gave her a present, but he never realized that he was the gift. She was a very lonely person, so when she met Homer, she found something very special.

Federico Puente: Emily´s life is represented by the rose and that's why the title is "A rose for Emily."

Adriana Zavala: The rose is a kind of tribute to the terrible story of Emily´s life. No one gives her a rose when she was alive, now the author give it to her when she is dead.

Adolpho Cuevas: The rose, is the thing that Emily didn't get in her live life because she always was suffering because of something (her father, homer). So I think that you have to learn to live your life with all the problems that you can have.

Faride Herrán: A rose could represent love of a woman who always is expecting someone who loves her and who takes care of her.

Angel Alejandro: The rose represents her hope to find someone that love her. The title "A Rose For Emily" means that Emily was looking for a bit of attention...

Sandra Galindo: The rose is only a symbolism in the story, but it isn´t true that with it Emily remembered things. It is just like gift to her loneliness, a gift that Homer gave to her without knowing, he was her gift, because she could have the love. In the story, never appeared a rose.

Daniel Retana: I think when the author associate the rose to Emily was a sarcastic way to express how did she feel about the situation and she finally die.

Daniela and Paulina: We like the idea that the rose represents an ironic situation. Because of the fact that her life was not as beautiful as a rose.

Samantha M. Dust also "rose" when Emily's guests were seated. It may be symbolic in her fall from grace, to have dirt and dust blanketing a once grand room. (As Emily herself was once grand.)

The Rat

Federico Puente: The townspeople considered Emily as a woman that was not anymore from the high society they considered her as a "easy woman" nobody knew what was happening to Emily.

Sandra Galindo: I don´t think that the townspeople considered Miss Emily as an "easy woman". I think she was like an important tradition in the town, because she was always the same, alone, without a man who loves her, with her gothic house. I think she couldn´t be considered like you say, because an easy woman has many males around her, and Miss Emily didn´t have them.

Alejandra Sosa: She was considered as a parasite, because the town want her to pay taxes.

Edgar Garcia: The rat is the representation of someone that is very bad. The ret is the fact of the murdered of Homer.

Emily's Life

Erika Cervantes: I think that the life of Emily was not easy. She always live with her father that didn´t pay attention to her and she never love to anybody. She was alone all her life and that was the origin of her strange attitude.

Marco Zazueta: It's hard to live when you are alone, when your love ones are gone, even when they treat you bad, believe that is very hard. Emily could not fill that empty space she always had have, and with the dead of his father that hole start to grow. Love, was all she wanted to fill that hole, and new ways of see life, by your love one. Emily's life was always very hard, no love, no understanding, no social participation, she was very alone.

Adolpho: The life of Emily was very empty because she felt alone, first with the death of her father, then when Homer left her. I think that she feel this sadness because the two persons that she knew left her. She was a very loved her so when they left her she didn't know what to do.

Nidia e Iliana: William Faulkner try to reflect the behaviour of the people that do not accept reality. They can not overcome from the lost of their love, they get an obsession and live from a memory. And this happened to Emily who wasted her life because she couldn't face that Homer left.

Lorena Aguilar García: Emily was a woman who didn't have her own life, she lived just for keeping appearances. She got bored of all those things and reacted in a very violent, but natural way.

Vince Miranda: I think that Emily asked for a rat poison, because of Homer Barron, this means that Barron was a rat for Emily she considered him a rat, and also because she was looking for poison and it would be easy to find one designated to kill rats.

Ana Laura Martínez: "Miss Emily seemed to live her life in slow motion while the world around her was running, therefore, she did not change at the same pace as those around her." Unfortunately this thought reflect the Emily´s cruel reality because she lived with no contact with the world. She just waste a value time in sad feelings, frustation and with the influence of her dead father.

Morality in "A Rose for Emily"

Christian Toledo: After reading "A Rose for Emily" we are going to try to judge her; and try to decide if she is crazy or if she is acting wrong. In most 0pinions, we will decide that she is crazy, and that that´s not the way to love someone. I think (even if it sounds crazy) that everyone is going to be happy by the way each person decides; so if your are happy by reading books, be it;
and if you are happy by killing someone, do it. It should sounds unfair, but I think no one can judge your acts, and if you make something wrong, no one have to tell you, because you will pay later; so let Miss Emily be happy, and think what she wants to.

Itzel Perez: I´M AGREE THINKING THAT NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TELL OTHERS WHAT'S RIGHT OR WRONG BUT YOU HAVE THAT RIGHT TO YOUR OWN PERSON WITH YOUR OWN JUDGMENTS, THAT'S THE WAY YOU LEARN TO BE BETTER, A BETTER PERSON IN YOUR OWN STANDARD OF WHAT BETTER IS BUT ALSO RELATIONAL WITH THE UNIVERSAL VALUES OF THE WORLD WHICH YOU ARE PART OF. SO IT'S ABSOLUTELY ACCEPTABLE THAT ANYONE JUDGES YOUR ACTIONS BECAUSE YOU ARE THE ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM BUT ATTEMPTING TO OTHERS LIFE IS NOT FAIR BECAUSE YOU ARE DECIDING ON OTHER PEOPLE LIFE, IF YOU DON'T WANT ANY ONE TO DECIDE FOR YOUR LIFE AND YOU WANT TO BE FREE, IT'S CONTRADICTORY TO KILL JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE HAPPY THAT WAY. IMAGINE IF WE ALL BEGIN TO BE HAPPY KILLING PEOPLE, HOW WOULD THE WORLD LIVE, VALUES, YOUR OWN VALUES ARE NECESSARY TO EXIST SO THE WORLD CAN EXIST TOO.

Sergio Cortés G.: It is ironic the meaning of a rose in a place where there should not be one. It's nonsense, as nonsense was Emily's life. She had no reason, no faith, no longing for life; and just when she thought she had found a little meaning to give to her life, he wanted to leave. So... she murdered him. I hope she still be suffering in the other life as she did in this one. Já!

Insanity
Xochitl and Salma: We like very much this story, because it was interesting, but we always think that Emily was crazy, but this was because of the experiences she suffered when she was a child. The people respect him, nobody could believe she had those big problems, they only know about Homer, but they didn´t know why he disappear. The story was written thinking in every detail, because at the beginning, William Faulkner gave us clues to discover Emily´s mystery, and only at the end we notice of that. He said about the smell, the poison, and another details.

Loneliness

Diana Delgado: I think that sometimes when people stay alone make things like Emily, and it could be the reason about her mental problem.

Mary Quintana and Mary Hernandez:  Emily planned the murder of Homer, she was conscious about all she did. Emily had a strong personality , she dominated her neighbors. She was not lonely, first she had herself and second the town respect her. If she would liked it she could have their companion. If she would feel alone, she wouldn´t make what she made. She killed Homer for having secure his company, that's why she stayed with him all the time before she died.

Gerardo A.: Maybe, in this story, loneliness has a little of fault in Emily's live. But maybe loneliness isn't the main cause of Emily's tragedy. In my opinion, Emily's father was a strong influence in Emily's live, because he wanted to have her as a kind of house keeper, but in a slavery way. And his father made her a lonely person. Maybe, she wasn't a lonely person of birth. But her father changed her in a bad way, and, so she became like that.

Lorena Sosa: Miss Emily's father did not like loneliness, so he kept her beside him until his death. This fear of being alone was transmitted to Emily, who first would try to keep his father's body in the house, and later, she would do anything to maintain Homer by her side .

Heinz: I don´t think his father was alone and want to keep Emily with him. I think that her father tries to protect her for the outside world, and he never realized the damage he was making to her. I would said that has many parents do in our times, they over protect their children, and they think they are doing well, but they are making a big damage, like it Emily his father make her a person that could not adapt to society.

Federico Puente: Emily felt on a depression because of the pressure she received from society, she was fed up of always having to behave as the daughter of a rich man.

Isolation

Adriana Zavala: This story show us the crude reality about an for convenience society that doesn't help the lonely persons when they have troubles.

Lorena Sosa: Miss Emily's isolation was the result of her father's attitude and education. Later, this would bring curiosity from the people, and that is why she was considered a monument in the town, because people knew almost nothing about her and she represented a mystery.

Abril Villarroel:  We think that isolation plays a very important role in this story because, that is the reason of the main character´s way of behaving and the actions she takes. As we go through the story we can see how her isolation starts as she grows up as a repressed person, as a consequence of her father´s attitude. We think that this isolation may not only be reflected in the context of the story, but it also shows us the feelings of the author that uses the character to express his own experiences related with this isolations because he was an alcoholic and he was a very lonely person.

Sandra Galindo: OK, I agree with you about that there are better solutions to her problem, but, just think about the personality of Miss Emily and all the conflicts inside her; she was repressed by her father, she felt alone, she couldn´t have a husband like the other women, she didn´t have a normal idea about the life. I think that maybe she murdered Homer in order to feel her own ability to take a decision, no matter if the society , God or her father, agree with her. Also, you have to think that her decision was so important in the story to make it more interesting.

Ana Laura Martínez:  Although we live in a society sometimes we take an indifference attitude toward external events. Emily in some way had fear to confront her reality and eventually she got alone, just with the Negro. It is true that is nice to have time with yourself, but the abuse of this can make you an insensible person.

WB01395_.gif (262 bytes)Adrian A.: I think, when a human being is totally isolated like Emily the spirit of the person is seriously damaged. The spirit of a person has to be in contact with other persons because when a person is isolated the spirit gets like in an untouchable gate very hard to open like the room where Homer´s body was. An if the spirit gets through that gate its very difficult to let it out, that is why I consider Emily´s house the jail of her spirit. And the Negro the guard of her prison.

Gonzalo S.: The Isolation is, in the story, determined by the death of Emily´s father. He died with "Emily´s society". After this fact, Emily was lonely until the "rat" of Homer came, leaving her, he finished with the rose of their love and transformed her into a "cat" that killed him. cat"

The Town

Gerardo A.: The environment of the town is very interesting. You can see how the people of the town make the story in a different way because they make the environment of Emily's live. With gossips they speculate about her live, with and without Homer. They way see behaves like in the drugstore when she "orders" the poison to the druggist, or the respect of the town about Miss Emily. You can she with this, how she was.

The Hair
Ariadne y Victor Z.: It´s interesting to note the importance of the last paragraph when they found Emily´s silver hair besides Homer and this situation make us think that Emily sleeps besides Homer every night until she died.

Adriana Zavala: I think that this is a very interesting story because when you began to read it you will never imagine what's the end going to be about. My favorite part is definitely the ending, when Emily dies and the habitants of the town enter to her house and discover her gray tuft in the pillow.

Hidden Personality

Heinz: On this story you can see that many people have 2 personalities, one when they talked with other persons, and the other when they are alone in their houses. For example when people see Emily they think of her like a nice educated woman, but at the final of the story they realized that she was very bad. So I can say that the person that doesn´t look strange you must be careful, because they may be the stranger ones.

Marys H & Q: We don't agree with this comment, we think that if you only look at the exterior of someone you will be making a mistake. You must meet the person in order to form an opinion of that person. We also think that Emily didn't has 2 personalities, all the story she behaved strangely, mysteriously. And the other people never showed to have 2 personalities. We're humans and we have different facets, we change our behavior and our way of thinking, and not because we have many personalities.

itesm-ccm couple: We don't agree with Heinz 'cause not all the people has only two personalities one thing is to be a hypocrite and other is to differ with other people and also not only the people that looks normal in fact are weird because the conception of normal is of personal.

Monument

Heinz: Everyone on town considered Emily as a monument, because his father was a great people in town, and with this everyone respected them. But afther the father dies the situation changes, but the people in town didn't notice. They still think that she is a great person in town. So after they find what happens they noticed that Emily oculted very well th true. So I can say that people aren´t what they seem to appear.

Class Structure

Maria Talan: Anyway... Emily has money... Emily does not need to work... the class structure is the reason why she made all these crazy things: she had time to do it.

Nareni Meuly: I did not think that the reason why Miss Emily act in a different form was her high social position. She murdered Homer because she wanted to retain him. Miss Emily wanted to marry, to be loved and to form a family but none of these happened. If she would have been from lower or medium class she would have made the same things because it was not money what she needed only love.

The "Ghost" of Emily's Dead Father

Ana Laura Martínez: If Emily had left behind her frustrated and horrible past full of the influence of her father the story of her life had been a better one. That is why is so important to have always a positive ideas and try to overcome from the problems. Maybe you are lucky are there people around you that love and try to give cheer you to continue. But the only one that is going to provoke a change in your life is you. 

Sandra Galindo: I agree with you about the ghost of the father; it is the major influence in Miss Emily´s life, her conflicts are around it. The father is her full family, and this make her feel alone, something essential in the development of the story.

Faride Herrán: I agree with you. The father was a terrible figure for her that could make her life harder than anything. She had a big trouble inside because of this ghost that doesn't let her live alone and in peace. Emily didn´t kill just Homer, but herself.

Change

Erika M.: Emily did change, but her change wasn't clearly noticed by the society. She, as everybody, grew older and her appearance change. Psychologically, Emily changed a lot, because she had to become a strong selfish woman when her father died. And she had to deal with all the work. She also had to change her mind because she had to get the enough courage to kill the man she loved.


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