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Who wants to go on a Southern Lit bender? 
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Post Re: Who wants to go on a Southern Lit bender?
I have to apologize for starting this thread and then disappearing. Real life has been getting in the way.

I have always loved this story mostly for its macabre and gothic elements. It features a creepy old lady, living as a recluse, who is the subject of much gossip. The decayed corpse, Emily’s aloofness and secretive life, etc. Great gloomy atmosphere. Emily's house is an imposing decrepit house that represents the old south out of place within the reconstruction era of the new south: ". . . only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps—an eyesore among eyesores."

What I admire most now perhaps is the story's structure. It starts with a summary of Emily Grierson’s death from the unnamed narrator's POV and jumps around chronologically. Faulkner achieves quite a bit of suspense by holding back certain details from the reader. When we learn of the smell, we don't really put two and two together until later in the story.

And then that final detail, the long strand of iron-gray hair on the pillow, so there's a bit of a shocking twist at the end.

I like Giselle's observation that Miss Emily's upbringing seems to make it difficult for her future relationships with men. Her upbringing seems to have isolated her from the New South residents of the town and she ends up choosing Homer Barron--essentially a carpetbagger from the north. When that relationship apparently goes sour she murders him.

I love her condescending attitude towards the men who come to collect taxes. "I have no taxes in Jefferson." And somehow they put up with her, treat her as a fallen monument.


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Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:07 pm
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Post Re: Who wants to go on a Southern Lit bender?
Rose for Emily is a macabre story for sure but Emily's strength as a character seems to transcend pure macabre. I was not sure if she murderered Homer because the relationship went sour (maybe he tried to leave?) or because she really needed a dead guy in her life to replace her dead Father ... apparently she was capable of relationships with dead guys, its just live ones that gave her trouble. The fear she struck in men, which in this small town would ensure her isolation from them, is so clearly demonstrated by the way the all-male town councillers sneak about in her yard to deal with the smell, completely unwilling to confront her. If they'd had the guts to confront her they would have discovered the murder at that point.



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Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:57 pm
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