Unit 2William Faulkner A Rose for Emily
Major Contents • William Faulkner • II. A Rose for Emily • III. A Brief Analysis of the Story
I. William Faulkner (1897 –1962) • William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the 20th century, his reputation is based mostly on hisnovels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.
Life • 1. William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi. He attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford before and after his service in the Royal Canadian Air Force in World I.
2. His literary career began in New Orleans where he met Sherwood Anderson, who helped him get his first novel Soldier’s Pay published in 1926.
The work which won Faulkner a Nobel Prize is often a depiction of life in his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, an imaginative reconstruction of the area adjacent to Oxford.
Oxford is the model for the town of “Jefferson” in his fiction, and Lafayette County, Mississippi, which contains the town of Oxford, is the model for his fictional Yoknapatawpha County.
Hollywood 3. By 1945, when Faulkner’s novels were out of print, he moved again to Hollywood to write under contract movie scripts, mostly for director Howard Hawks.
4. On June 17, 1962, he was thrown from a horse, and a few weeks later, on July 6, Faulkner died of a coronary occlusion. Faulkner’s Grave in Oxford, Miss.
His Main Writings • 19 novels • Near 100 short stories
Examples: novels : • The Sound and the Fury (1929) • As I Lay Dying (1930) • Sanctuary (1931) • Light in August (1932) • Absalom, Absalom! (1936) • The Hamlet (1940)
The Sound and the Fury 《喧哗与骚动》 “Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts, and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by idiot, full of sound and fury, singiying nothing.” ---Macbeth
The Yoknapatawpha novels spanned the decades of economic decline from the American Civil War through the Depression. • Racism, class division, family as both life force and curse are the recurring themes along with recurring characters and places.
Books of short stories: • These Thirteen (1931) • Go down, Moses (1942) • The Collected Stories of William Faulkner (1950)
Awards: • Nobel Prize for Literature 1949 • two Pulitzer Prizes • two National Book Awards • ……
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949 “for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”
Award Speech • I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work -- a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. • 我感觉，这个奖不是授予我这个人，而是授予我的工作，它是对我呕心沥血、毕生从事的人类精神探索的工作的肯定。我的这项工作不为名，更不图利，而是要从人类精神的原始素材里创造出前所未有的东西。
Writing features: “stream of consciousness”; emotional, subtle, cerebral, complex, and sometimes Gothic or grotesque stories a wide variety of characters ……
II. A Rose for Emily 献给艾米丽的一支玫瑰
First published in 1930 • In Faulkner’s fictional city, Jefferson, in his fictional county of Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi • It was Faulkner’s first short story published in a national magazine Forum.
A Rose for Emily • A Rose for Emily is a five-part short story narrated by the townspeople of Jefferson, Mississippi, in the plural first-person perspective (“we”).
Now, read the story and consider the following questions:
What kind of story is it? • What caused the tragedy of Emily?
Section 1 Tax evasion • Her father arranges in his will that she would never have to pay taxes; • She refuses to pay the taxes; • Emily reminds the city authority that she doesn’t have to pay taxes in Jefferson and to speak to Colonel Sartoris, although he had died 10 years before.
Section 2 Bad Smell • The Griersons had always been a very proud Southern family. • Mr. Grierson, Emily’s father, believes no man is suitable for his daughter and doesn’t allow her to date. • After Mr. Grierson’s death, Emily does not allow the authorities to remove his body for three days, claiming he is still alive. • Two years after her father’s death, her lover leaves her, and a strange smell starts emanating from the Grierson house.
Section 3 The arsenic • Emily’s lover, Homer Barron, a foreman from the north to build sidewalks outside the Grierson home. • After Emily and Homer are seen driving through town several times, Emily visits a druggist, asking to purchase arsenic. • The druggist asks what the arsenic is for since it was required of him to ask by law. • Emily does not respond and coldly stares him down until he looks away and gives her the arsenic.
Section 4 Homer’s Disappearance • Citizens of Jefferson believe that Miss Emily is going to commit suicide since Homer has not yet proposed. • The townspeople contact and invite Emily’s two cousins to comfort her. • Shortly after their arrival, Homer leaves and then returns after the cousin leave Jefferson. • After staying in Jefferson for one night, Homer is never seen again. • After Homer’s disappearance, Emily begins to age, gain weight, and is rarely seen outside of her home. Finally, Miss Emily passes away.
Section 5 The truth • After Emily’s funeral, the townspeople immediately go through her house. • A room on the second floor which no one had seen in 40 years, and break the door down. • a dusty room strangely decorated as a bridal room; • a man’s tie, suit and shoes, and a silver toilet set which Miss Emily had purchased for Homer years before his disappearance. • Homer’s remains lay on the bed, dressed in a nightshirt. • Next to him is an impression of a head on a pillow where the townspeople find a single “long strand of iron-gray hair.”
What kind of story is it? A love story A detective story A Gothic story ……
What caused the tragedy of Emily? Her father Her lover The town people herself
Her father … he had driven away all the young men who propose to Emily… …as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman’s life so many times had been too virulent and too furious to die…. 她父亲的性格三番五次地使她那作为女性的一生平添波折，而这种性格仿佛太恶毒，太狂暴，还不肯消失似的。
We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door. So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated; even with insanity in the family she wouldn’t have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.
Her lover • Homer had remarked---he liked men; • He was not a marrying man.
The town people • …then some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people…
Herself • Emily enforces her own sense of law and conduct, such as when she refuses to pay her taxes or state her purpose for buying the poison. • Emily also skirts the law when she refuses to have numbers attached to her house when federal mail service is instituted. Her dismissal of the law eventually takes on more sinister consequences, as she takes the life of the man whom she refuses to allow to abandon her.
Brief analysis of the story: • Setting (背景） • Character （人物） • Plot （情节） • Point of view （视角） • Theme （主题） • Style （风格） • Symbolism （象征）
1. Setting (背景） • A creepy old house in Jefferson, Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, 1861-1933 (approximately)
Context: • As the South emerged from the Civil War and Reconstruction and attempted to shed the stigma of slavery, its residents were frequently torn between a new and an older, more established world order.
Context: • Religion and politics frequently fail to provide order and guidance and instead complicate and divide. Society, with its gossip, judgment, and harsh pronouncements, conspires to thwart the ambitions of individuals struggling to embrace their identities. (Emily)
2. Plot:情节 • straighten out the plot； • The story begins and ends with the “end” of Emily’s story. • Try to draw a time line from Emily’s life before her father’s death to her own death.
Narrative order in the story • Death—tax—bad smell—father dies—meets Homer—Arsenic—Homer disappears—China-painting lesson—Death
1864 – Miss Emily Grierson is born. • 1870s – The Grierson house is built. • 1894 – Miss Emily’s father dies. • 1894 – Miss Emily falls ill. • 1894 – Miss Emily’s taxes are remitted (in December).
It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies… P. 409
Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. P. 410 Back
So when she got to be thirty and was still single…when her father died, it… P. 412 Back
1894 – Miss Emily meets Homer Barron (in the summer). • 1896 –Emily buys arsenic; Homer is last seen entering Miss Emily’s house. • 1896 – The townspeople become concerned about the smell of the Grierson house and sprinkle lime around Emily’s place.
So she vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell. That was two years after her father’s death and a short time after her sweetheart had deserted her. P. 411
1896 – Miss Emily stays in for six months. • 1896-1898 – Miss Emily emerges and her hair gradually turns gray. • 1899 – Miss Emily stops opening her door, and doesn’t leave the house for about five years. • 1904 – Miss Emily emerges to give china-painting lessons for about seven years. • 1911 – Miss Emily stops giving painting lessons. Over ten years pass before she has any contact with the town.