William Faulkner is considered to be one of the most prolific writers and among the most influential ones for that matter in the last century in American Literature. His numerous contributions to the literary field were so immense and, as a result, he became a Nobel Laureate and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.
His oeuvres range from novels to short stories and poems, and he has created a permanent spot in the history of American literature. A Rose for Emily is regarded as one of the most outstanding and the most controversial pieces of work. This story is full of captivating details which can make a short story really interesting for the reader and for the critics.
On the one hand, the vast majority of critics admit that it is not a true style that was preferred by William Faulkner. On the other hand, it is always interesting to develop various experiments and intrigue the audience with extremely captivating ideas. In fact, William Faulkner made a successful attempt to impress the reader: his A Rose for Emily is a unique collection of ideas and themes which are always interesting to read and evaluate. In spite of the fact that a number of negative opinions were developed around the story, even negative criticism attracted people’s attention and prove how mature the writer could be in the chosen style. Some critics defined A Rose for Emily as a kind of exploitative story not inherent to Faulkner, still, they talked about it and made the author recognizable.
People said that even really talented writers could become famous and gain desirable respect and recognition only after their deaths. William Faulkner proved that popularity had a variety of sides, and he chose the one that made his famous during his life, and immortal after his death. A Rose for Emily is the story that is characterized by numerous critical opinions: readers found the story interesting, unusual, and educative; and critics tried to admit as many negative or weak points as possible and prove that the chosen style, relations between the characters, and even frequent use of flashbacks were not winning enough to introduce the most amazing work ever. William Faulkner usually chose some unpredictable development of the events in order to impress the reader and in order to make critics notice his work. Some critics admit that this story was full of “history’s unwillingness to advance, evolve, or progress” (Aboul-Ela 18). During his life, Faulkner was able to get a number of various opinions and attitudes to his work, still, he was always confident of his abilities and writing style. In general, the criticism that was developed during the time when the author was alive had more negative than positive nature, and it was hard to recognize a true interpretation of a story and unclear narration offered. So that “the critical cannon of A Rose for Emily has become as bloated as the character herself” (Farnoli, Golay, and Hamblin 243).
There were many different themes which have been criticized, and critics found it rather interesting to discover weak and strong points of the story: flashbacks which helped to understand that “aunt Emily was … a little different” (Faulkner and Robinette 10) seemed to be weak enough to explain the essence of the author’s message and the method of characterization seemed to be more strange. Much attention was paid to the relations between Emily and her father which lead to the tragic end of the relations with Homer. It is always interesting to define who should be blamed for a human death, women’s tears, and pain that may be spread over many people around. In fact, with the help of a critical overview, it was possible for the reader to comprehend a true genre of the shot story, and it was not a horror story but an educative lesson that proved ho blind people with their assumptions could be.
In spite of the fact that Faulkner was known during his life and a number of his works had been already recognized, not all readers were able to accept his new decision to introduce horrors. And some reader accepted A Rose for Emily not as “a ghost story at all but rather a story of a woman with a domineering father who grows old and dies in the small… town” (Marius and Anderson 5). In my opinion, this particular story by William Faulkner is characterized by the opinions which could be hardly differentiated before and after his death.
There are many supporters and opponents of his talent as they were during his life. It is not very difficult to define some powerful aspects of the story like an amazing flashback at the end of the story when Homer was discovered on Emily’s bed. This idea proved that the power of a woman is worth attention and recognition. Even now the relations between women and men are not similar to each other, and each story may have its own end either dramatic or happy. This is why there are so many reasons to respect the achievements of the author and his ideas which are expressed through the story. A Rose for Emily seemed to be an immortal calling by Faulkner with the help of which he reminds the readers that each type of relations without considering whether it is developed at early times (like it was with Emily’s father) or when a person grows up (the relations with Homer) has its own consequences and may influence a lot of aspects which are so crucial for a human life. The work was first published in 1930 in a copy of Forum, a magazine (Reuben).
It was easily one of those short stories that featured most in many collections of short stories. It was a work that was not easy to interpret. This is why so many possible and plausible interpretations appeared within a short period of time. The story was popular at the time of its publication. “A Rose for Emily is by far the best-known, most reprinted, most widely read, and most discussed short story” (Towner and Carothers 63). In general, the story A Rose for Emily introduced by William Faulkner at the beginning of the 20th century is a perfect lesson for people who live in modern world. Very often people are blind because of the opportunities offered and cannot define their own weaknesses.
On the one hand, it is a terrible truth that has to be admitted and cannot be understood. And on the other hand, A Rose for Emily becomes more amazing and educative story that fulfils this life and helps to discover the essence of the life.
Aboul-Ela, Hosam. Other South: Faulkner, Coloniality, and the Mariategui Tradition. Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg Press, 2007. Print. Fargnoli, Nicholas, Golay, Michael, and Hamblin, Robet.
Critical Companion to William Faulkner: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2008. Print.
Faulkner, William and Robinette, Joseph. A Rose for Emily. Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Publishing, 1983. Print.
Marius, Richard and Anderson, Nancy. Reading Faulkner: Introductions to the First Thirteen Novels. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2006. Print.
Reuben, Paul P. “Chapter 7: William Faulkner.” PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. 2010. Web. 2 Nov.
Mississippi: The University of Mississippi Press, 2006. Print.