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Rose For Emily

Setting Analysis
by

Joanna Patricia Matias

on 22 July 2013

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Transcript of Rose For Emily

A Rose For Emily
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
How was the house described/characterized, and how does it possibly reflect Emily Grierson or the Grierson residence?
This description illustrates the reclusive nature of Emily Grierson. It is apparent that she did not have many friends and visitors which is why the house and the Griersons remained a mystery to the town.
Only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps an eyesore among eyesores.

Setting Analysis
"It was a big squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had been once our most select street."
The house is characterized as once ornate, possibly fitting in the style of those times. This displays her family’s wealth (being a part of the once “select street”) and how they were once the affluent and privileged. The description “that had once been white”, shows how Miss Emily’s house had slowly been left to its decay because of her lack of interest.
"Her house, which no one save an old man-servant--a combined gardener and cook--had seen in at least ten years."
Only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps an eyesore among eyesores.
NOW
years passed...
"...into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse-- a close, dank smell. "
This passage highlights the slow decay of Emily’s house. It represents the slow decay of Emily’s own life and status as one of the upper class in the town.
When they sat down, a faint dust rose sluggishly about their thighs, spinning with slow motes in the single sun ray.
Again, this passage shows the stagnant life of Emily. The dust had gathered over such a long period of time because the house has been undisturbed for so long.
Why is the house covered?
It was covered because Emily refused change and wanted her house to stay the same. She also wanted to hide the “The smell of dust and disuse—a close, dank smell” so the people will not speculate what is inside the house.
What is the significance of the room in the second floor, especially as a room that no one else entered until Emily passed away? Or, how does the second floor as a restricted space act symbolic of Emily Grierson's true self?
The room in the second floor, which no one entered until Emily’s death, shows Emily’s true self. She’s known to be aristocratic, earning admiration from the community. This is evident when she was considered to be a tradition and a duty. Then, we realize eventually that Emily is not just one woman who poisons and kills her lover but one who keeps it and sleeps with it. Also, the fact that nobody entered the room depicts how she is a woman whose life is full of restrictions.
Emily’s father did not let her date just anyone she pleases because “none of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily” (Faulkner). This leads us to think that Emily grew desperate for human love, and so resorts to killing Homer Barron and clinging to him. She also held on to her father’s corpse which shows how fearful she is of change. “Miss Emily met them at the door dressed as usual with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead” (Faulkner). This shows how she tries to defy death and later on kills Homer to ensure that he won’t leave her.
Another indication of her fear of change is the event when she didn’t allow the city to put number on her house for mailing purposes. “Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them” (Faulkner). Here, she struggles to maintain her tradition. In general, the second floor is symbolic in terms of how Emily isolated her true self for certain fears.

Old Town
New Town
What is it about the house that drives Emily to contain herself within it?
Looking back at the tax collection scene, " Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain."
This line symbolizes that time had no meaning for emily. The invisible watch meant that she didn't know what was happening outside and time meant nothing to her. Her lack of knowledge of the passage of time proves her denial over change. She said to the men "I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel sartoris explained it to me." During this time colonel sartoris had been dead for a decade.
Also Emily loved her father despite his dominance in her life. When he had died, Emily had denied his death and clung on the corpse of her father for a few days before burying. Her father had left her the house. We can look at it as something she can hold on to in memory of her father.
Also, Emily had refused change again and again. She had denied her father's death and refused to pay taxes. She still clings to the past and refuses to accept the change of the future. She had killed Homer because she was afraid of him leaving her. Emily was clearly afraid of that change and it clouded her judgement. The house itself was her safe haven amongst the change happening in society. That is why she'd rather stay inside because nothing would change.
"Why did they break down the house?"
The townspeople were nosy and frequently gossiped about what was going on inside the Grierson's residence; But, out of respect for Emily, they never did anything to go beyond their boundaries and dig deeper about Emily's life. Emily kept to herself until the very end and allowed people to go only as far as the living room. The people already knew that she was hiding something in that one room upstairs. When she died they finally had the chance to see what was inside and what was Emily keeping secret. Emily was the only one who had the key to the mystery. Them breaking it down the door is like opening the gates to unlocking the mystery of Emily Grierson.
Townspeople
Why didn’t she leave the house?

Emily used her aristocratic position to hide murder and necrophilia to sentence herself to total isolation. Inside the house, she found comfort through embracing the dead.

Why do visitors only visit the sala?
The living room is usually the one allotted for receiving visitors inside your house. And so, we could say that this is the only part of Emily’s house that she’s willing to show to the people. The rest of the house is reserved for herself.
Why is the house compartmentalized?
The house is divided into parts to indicate clear boundaries as to how far one can go into Emily's life. Compartmentalization was used to set which is for which.
"Why did they break down the house?"
Emily is a mysterious and muted icon. Because of that, she is an object of fascination for the townspeople, and a lot of gossips about her are made. The townspeople broke the house because they wanted to invade and see Emily Grierson’s life. Emily’s death was an opportunity for them to attain access to this forbidden territory and confirm their gossips and wild guesses about what happened inside.
She separated her house from the community because she doesn't want to let go of the past and move on while the community around her began to modernized. Also, she could avoid the speculations/gossips that the community is making about her.
Why is her house separated from the community?
Are there any notable objects within the residence that may provide clues to the motives of characters in the story?
The arsenic she bought without prescription is a premonition that there's an impending murder of someone, although we cannot be so sure if she's going to kill herself or another person. "...She will kill herself."(Faulkner) The toilet set, the wedding clothing of Homer Barron which they discovered in slightly used condition suggests that Emily was a generous lover.
The two bodies held by Miss Emily indicates that her sanity is not in normal conditions as she displayed possible obsessive behavior. Although she had enough reasons for keeping her father when he died,"We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father driven away, and we knew with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which robbed her, as people will."(Faulkner)
We may never know why she hid(and possibly killed) Homer Barron as well. We can say that the love they shared is something that can never be lived that's why she had to resort into killing him. "The man himself lay on the bed. The body had appeared once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love had cuckolded him."(Faulkner) Lastly, the gray strand of Emily's hair represents her as well as her house and what she's had been through until her death.
- The dust shows that the house is in stasis. She doesn't plan to do anything to the dead body she stored in her room.
- The pocket watch that was ticking and was hidden in her cloth during the tax collection shows that she doesn't care about time.
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