On the Tragedy of A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

减小字体 增大字体 作者:杨艳玲  来源:www.zhonghualunwen.com  发布时间:2009-12-02 12:59:19

  A Rose for Emily is one of Faulkner's most famous short stories.Emily Grierson,a descendant of the noble Crierson family,is the central character of the short story.Dominated by her father who bore the rigid ideas of social status,Emily Grierson was prevented from marrying her town fellows during his lifetime,which lead to her loneness and poverty after her father's death.Later,she fell in love with a Yankee,Homer Barron,who was disregarded by the whole town and her relatives.Emily arrogantly defied her kin and the community by insisting on marrying Homer.Unfortunately,she found that Homer had no intention to marry her.Desperately,Emily killed her lover and kept his body in her room until her death.Since then,Emily isolated herself from the outside world and lived lonely in her house for more than 40 years.What accounts for Emily's love tragedy? What turns a noble lady into a abnormal spinster? Why does the author,Faulkner,present her a rose?
  Ⅱ.Causes of Emily's tragedy
  1.Peremptory paternalism
  In the south,the notion of family is based on the plantation economy and the culture of the agricultural society.In such a society and economic structure,the father,the owner of the plantation,has the highest power in the family.He controls his"small kingdom"like a king.Moreover,Puritanism spreads in the south and strongly upholds the supreme power of the father.In a family,the father's idea and decision can't be defied and require his wife and his children to obey.The father does not only control his children' thought but also their destiny.
  Emily Grierson was born in a decayed aristocratic family.When she was very young,she was dominated by her father and his rigid ideas of social status as the town people described:"We had long thought of them as a tableau,Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background,her father a silhouette in the foreground,his back to her and clutching a horsewhip,the two of them framed by the back-flung front door."From this description we can see her father is like a guard who tries to drive away anyone and anything which is against the traditional morals and conventions,so as to make Emily follow his rigid ideas of social status.Her father is a representative of the decayed aristocrats' old values:"the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were,none of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such."Her father drives away all the young men.As a result,Emily is still single when she is about thirty.Emily loses the chance to live a normal life of a woman- to love﹑to be loved﹑to marry and the value embodied through marriage.Emily's tragedy is caused by her father.It is her father who deprives Emily of her youth,love and happiness.
     She is left alone and penniless after her father's death.Her dependence on her father continues even after he dies.She refuses to release his body for burial;she keeps his portrait in a prominent place in her living room.As the narrator points out:"she would have to cling to that which had robbed her,as people will."Emily dose not only cling to her father's memory,but also becomes the representative of the old moral values which are deep-rooted in her mind under her father's long influence and lead her in a tragic life.
  2.The conflict between two social ideologies
  The sharp conflict between the two different types of social ideologies-capitalism and slavery is the root of Emily's tragedy.When Faulkner is exploring the problems of concepts and code of ethics,he has felt that modern western society is in the state of moral confusion,lack of social moral standards and disciplines.The foreman,Homer Barron,is a typical character who carried the kind of Bourgeois moral values.He seeked for private interest and lack moral disciplines;he indulged in wine and women but refused to bear any moral responsibilities.He dated Miss Emily overtly but"rot a marrying woman".He was not serious about love.His moral values conflictd with that of Emily,a representative of the old moral values.They could not be together;yet,unfortunately,she fell in love with him.It was the tragedy.She could not endure his behavior,the conflict between them developed,and finally developed to the degree of climax.The only way of solving the conflict was using violence——to kill him.It is not that the author likes violence.It is the result of conflicts,to be more exact,the result of moral confusion.It is inevitable.
  3.Feminine morality
  In the Bible,women are depicted to be subordinate to men and the resource of all the sins.In the South,people believe in Christianity,so they regard women as the incarnation of sin.Such feminine morality accounts for the low social status of women.Women in the South are born to be subordinate to men.They can't control their own destiny.They do not realize and even never think to realize their values in the society.They can't have their own thoughts and their normal desires are oppressed for they should do as the traditional morals and conventions require.

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