Friday, September 19, 2008

The Unknown

In "A Rose for Emily" it is the unknown that attracts the reader and the outside characters in the story attracted to her and her situation. It doesn't help that the setting is in a small southern town, where not much else goes on and people feed off of gossip. In the story everyone in the city is fascinated by what they don't know. It is what keeps bringing them back for more. They don't really know what is going on behind those doors, but the fact that they can speculate and fill in the blanks in their own mind with their own imagination is fascinating. It is entertainment in such a small town, and anywhere really. As i read this story, it seemed so unreal, of something that would never happen before in today's society. The more i thought, it happens everyday, and it so intertwined with our day to day life that we don't even notice it when it does happen. Gossip is everywhere around us. In out family, work place, living units, and on television/internet. It is everywhere, and it feeds us. We enjoy hearing what went wrong, or what is going on in other peoples lives. It is just like what was said in class, it gives us a sense of power or inferiority.

At the same time, how much of gossip is actually true? Gossip is normally some form of information that we hear, and yet we normally don't hear it all. We hear bits and pieces of it, and always seem to put our own twist on it. We sometimes shape it to how we want it to sound. In a sense this is the case in "A Rose for Emily." All of the people in her community love to sit and speculate as to what is going on inside her house. None have ever stepped foot inside, but they have heard stories. They base their information upon who they see walk inside the house, or from situations such as when the neighbor complains of a stench coming from the property. This causes the people to start guessing the reason for why the smell is occurring. Or when the priest goes in to talk Mrs. Emily, and leaves and goes straight to call her family. When something like this occurs, it causes the outsiders to just speculate and start to wonder what is going on inside. This is a catchy way to write a story, because as a reader you do the same. You don't know what is going on either, but in your mind you are filling in the blanks as well.

1 comment:

Pat Patterson said...

I agree with Sam. The narration of Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily” leaves room for a reader to speculate. My thoughts about the story continually changed because the story is not in a chronological order and because the description of Emily’s actions is given from the perspective of an onlooker. This narrative style made the ending of the story unexpected. While reading, I was led to believe that Emily’s father’s dead body was in her house. The “smell” is noticed two years after her father’s death. “SO SHE vanquished them, horse, and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before the smell. That was two years after her father’s death and a short time after her sweetheart – the one we believed would marry her – had deserted her” (126). The ending of that section of the story further reinforces this possibility. “We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (127). After I read this section, I was convinced that the “smell” was from her father’s dead body. If the story were in a chronological order, it would have been easier to correctly guess the end. If Homer Barron had been introduced prior to the description of the smell, it would have been easy to recognize that he is the “sweetheart” that is referred to and that the smell occurred after a short time after he has supposedly “deserted” her. We are not even given any insight into the possible reasons why Emily purchased rat poison. We are not given any description of a story leading up to Emily’s purchase and since the narrator is an onlooker, we are not given any of Emily’s thoughts or motives. “Like when she bought the rat poison, the arsenic. That was over a year after they had begun to say “Poor Emily” and while the two female cousins were visiting her” (128). Since the purchase is referred to as a past occurrence, we don’t know when it happened or why it may have happened. Again, if the story were in a chronological order, we would have realized that Emily’s cousins were visiting while she had been dating Homer Barron. Therefore, we would have recognized that she buys the poison at the same time that they are seeing each other. It is funny how you are able to realize these things when rereading the story. The narration truly allows you to speculate.