Critical response

The story has been discussed and analyzed in a variety of academic publications.

Floyd C. Watkins wrote about the structure of "A Rose for Emily" in Modern Language Notes. Faulkner had to carefully dissect his sections, bringing importance to every aspect of Emily's life. Watkins sees this as a "structural problem" but later praises the symmetry of this short story. Watkins enjoys this story in its entirety, and is impressed by Faulkner's ordering, as building suspense was an important aspect in the response

The critical response by John Skinner explores the interpretations of Faulkner's short story in detail while reviewing the importance of over-analyzing a piece of literary work. Faulkner published this story in the 1930s. Skinner had published his critical response in 1985. The characters and theme of this tale have been scrutinized by many. Some scholars, including S.W. M. Johnson, posit that “Emily represented a refusal to submit to, or even concede, to the inevitability of change”. Whereas, William Going pictures Emily as a rose, “the treasured memory of the Confederate veterans”. The point of view according to Skinner is of immediate relevance to the story as the chief character, the narrator tells the chronology of the story. This narrator gives approximately “round figures” for the important events of the accounts.[14] Jack Scherting, in Studies in Short Fiction, discusses that point of view and points out that the story is "related by an anonymous narrator in the first person plural

Alice Petry introduces a different type of critical response that is not focused on the usual subjects. Rather, she focuses on complex and provocative language. For example, Hall discusses how the sentence, "Thus she passed from generation to generation - dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil and perverse" has been considered misleading, but is in fact strategically placed to provide foreshadowing and unification of plot. The five descriptive words used in the sentence each correspond to one of the five parts in the order they are seen. For example, the adjective "inescapable" corresponds to Part II, to the incident of the strange smell coming from Miss Emily's home. Faulkner's placement of these adjectives at the end of Part IV serves as an important unifying sentence that connects all five parts to each other.

Jim Barloon of the University of St. Thomas wrote about an idea introduced to him by his students, that Homer was homosexual, possibly providing another reason for his murder. He proposes that Emily did not kill Homer because of her own insecurities, but also because he did not reciprocate her romantic feelings. As Barloon states in his article, “Positing that Homer Barron is gay not only raises a new set of questions but transforms [the story], or at least our pe°^÷^rspective of it

The psychology of Emily Grierson has been analyzed countless times, with many people concluding that she was mentally ill, and from that point, the reasons why. Though many different diagnoses have been made, the most common can be summarized as follows by Nicole Smith in her psychological analysis of the character: “It is reasonable to propose that Miss Emily developed [schizophrenia] as a response to the demanding conditions in which she was living as a Southern woman from an aristocratic family.”

Tuncay Tezcan in his analysis of the story states, “It represents the numerous conflicts in the main character's life, illustrating the effect of social change on the individual.”[19] Jack Sherting believes Emily suffers from an Oedipus complex He claims that Emily and her father had an incestuous relationship and she was never able to move past it. Sherting believes Emily used Homer as a replacement for her father and never truly loved him, only used him for her own benefit.

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