quiltfic.gif (4639 bytes) Litonline--ENG 112

Emily Archive 2

The following topics were addressed by several students over the years 1997-2002.  The best of their answers have been preserved in the pages linked below.  Thanks, in particular, to students at KCKCC, as well as those at several Virginia community colleges, who contributed many thoughtful and well supported entries.

Study Guide:* Best Questions from the Emily Forum, 1998 - 2004

Essay Ideas

The following BUTTONS will take you to the pages in the archive, as will the more descriptive text hyperlinks below the buttons.

Motives Description Change Tobe Rose Rat Case Against Emily Themes Payback Homer Sexuality Class Modernizing

Motives: Why did Emily kill Homer?

Descriptions of Emily

What changes did Emily reject and what impact did that rejection have?

Why did Tobe stay?

Who or what is the rose?

Who or what is the rat?

The Case Against Emily Grierson


        Revenge Story?  Payback for Dad

Themes (besides "change")

Homer's Sexuality: Is his preference to be in the company of men a sexual preference?

How does Emily's social class constrain her behavior and define the boundaries she crosses?

Modernizing the story

* On Re-Reading the Story--

C. David Fixman (2000) notes his struggles with the story: "I found it necessary to re-read “A Rose For Emily” and to reflect upon and digest the story after each reading. As I started to read it the first time, I had a preconceived notion that due to the title I would be reading something lighthearted and romantic. As I read it the first time I kept waiting for the story to turn in that fashion. Obviously, as I continued, it became more somber and morbid. 

Because of my assumptions, I found myself a bit stunned at the end of my reading and realized that there were a few items that I did not comprehend. Therefore, I re-read the story and focused on missed aspects such as 

bulletthe timeline, i.e. when things occurred and how old Emily may have been when she died
bullethow unstable her relationships were and their meaning at many levels, i.e.
bulletthe changing of the guard, ”Old South" vs. "New South" 
bulletI still found it strange that the servant/slave stayed on until the end.
bulletthe persona of her father vs. the persona of Homer
bulletthe concern or lack of concern by the townspeople
bulletthe role of the narrator"

"Sizzosg" (2002) adds: "Faulkner’s story is perhaps one of the best examples of the way in which the reader’s perception of a story changes upon a rereading. Many of the passages that seemed innocuous upon a first reading practically jump off the page with hidden meanings upon a second or third reading. Reread the story, making note of the “clues” or signals that the narrator was giving to anticipate the ending. What prevents the reader from piecing the story together the first time through?"