谁献给了艾米丽的这朵玫瑰：解读《献给艾米丽的玫瑰》Who Presents This Rose for Emily An Interpretation of A Rose for Emily毕业论文
William Faulkner, one of the most influential writers in the history of American literature, has exerted a far-reaching influence on American literary circles and was also the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949. A Rose for Emily is his most famous short story. This novel is based on the heroine named Emily and the description of the life of the southern town after the American Civil War. It is also the process of the heroine from blooming to withering under various reasons. However, “Rose”only appears in the title of the short story, it is not really explained in the text. Starting from “rose”, this paper will interpret its implicit symbolic meanings, analyze the changes of the social background, family factors and the protagonist’s concept of love at that time, and try to make readers really understand the implied meanings of “rose”, and further analyze the short story in depth, in order to enable more readers to understand Faulkner’s creative techniques and styles, and to have a profound understanding of the influence of the Southern traditional culture and slavery on American society at that time.
Key Words: A Rose for Emily; Rose; Symbolic Meaning; Interpretation
1 Introduction 1
2 Emily: Image of a vicitim 3
2.1 Parental oppression under patriarchy 3
2.2 Inequality between men and women in the view of love 4
2.3 Traditional scapegoats in the south 5
3. Human survival dilemma and conflict 7
3.1 Distortion of human nature 7
3.2 Contradiadictory attitudes of new and old generations 8
3.3 Dislocation of the times 9
4. Symbolic Significance of the Rose 11
4.1 The fallen southern society – a fallen rose 11
4.2 Struggle in the chaotic era: a rose in a greenhouse 11
4.3 Unattainable love-a rose of desire 12
4.4 Memories of the past: a rose in memory 13
5. conclusion 15
Who Presents the Rose to Emily: An Interpretation of A Rose for Emily
William Faulkner, one of the greatest American novelists in the 20th century, has exerted a profound influence on American literary circles. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his powerful and artistically unparalleled contribution to contemporary American novels. He depicts customs of the southern United States from a unique perspective and artistic style, and records the new social scene after the collision and friction between different classes in the historical period of social change after the Civil War. As his most famous short story, A Rose for Emily describes the brilliance of the Southern aristocracy in the past and its dilemma and decline. Emily, the heroine in this work, is the victim of the alternation of old and new society. The whole work has a strong tragic color. This work mainly tells the story of Emily, a young lady from a declining aristocratic family in the south, who is not married until she is 30 years old because of her father’s oppression and driving away all the young people who pursue her. When her father dies, Emily finally regains her freedom and falls in love with Homer, but the story does not end in a satisfactory way. When Emily’s lover plans to leave, she couldn’t keep her lover, but she finally chooses the extreme way to keep her lover, that is, poisoning her lover. Because she believes that death would not bring betrayal, she sleeps with her lover’s body every day. Seemingly full of terror, it also shows the heroine’s tragic life and morbid psychological state. Many scholars usually analyze the work from different perspectives, such as Yuan minmin（2018）evaluates Emily from a negative image. In her novel, she implies that when Emily brutally killed her sweetheart-Homer and hid him in the bedroom until her life was over. At that time, Emily symbolized a ruthless “noble killer” . They are more inclined to regard Emily as a character-distorted murderer and fetishism. Besides, Shi liping（2010）believes that Emily is controlled by the old traditions of the South. In her opinion, Emily took the risk to love Homer and he abandoned her mercilessly. In this way, her psychologically existing guilty feelings must be stronger, and even further “deteriorating” as a specific action–killing Homer to retain the lover in this extreme way. And even to marry a dead body, with this superficial accomplishment to eliminate the sense of guilt in her own heart. In short, they all use negative images to evaluate Emily（史丽萍，2010）.
However, the literature that defines Emily as a positive image is rare. My paper considers in Faulkner’s work, Emily is portrayed as a “hero”, which is defined as a person who cannot accept any compromise. Only a few people can follow their own inner principles and cannot accept any compromise. By means of analyzing the word “rose” in combination with social, family and personal factors, so as to grasp the theme of the story and the symbolic meanings of “rose”, this paper can explain the question: who presents the rose to Emily?
2 Emily : Image of a victim
The heroine of the story, Miss Emily, is a descendant of the aristocrats in the southern town. She lived in a heavily guarded concept and a Puritan culture environment. A lady named Emily who lived under the old system and was overprotected by her father, still can’t find the Perfect Man until the age of 30. After her father died, Emily was helpless. But as a noble lady, she is not willing to face the era of continuous development, and also stubbornly refuses to change. Later, a northern foreman named Homer Barron who was building a road in the town, broke into her closed heart. Barron is a lively and free northern worker. He is eager to be free from jealousy and is naturally independent,who does not like marriage constraints. When Emily disregarded the dignity of the nobility and secular views, and was still willing to pursue Homer but the result was rejected. Emily does not hesitate to offend the law to insist on maintaining her own dignity——she left her lover forever in an alternative way and expressed her spirit of not compromising reality. Under all kinds of oppression, Emily’s strong spiritual represents the passing spirit of the South. At the same time, it also expresses the author’s fascination with Faulkner’s past era and regrets that he is destined to be eliminated.
2.1 Parental oppression under patriarchy
In the novel, the era of Emily’s life, the southern part of the United States, which based on the plantation economy, is a patriarchal society soaked with strong Puritanism, that is, a male dominated society. In a patriarchal society, men become the masters of women, and women are pushed into a dark corner. Emily’s father is a typical representative of authoritarian patriarchal ideology. As a defender of the aristocrats in the South, he was overbearing and arrogant, and he lifted all the young men who proposed to Emily, so that Emily missed the best time to talk about marriage.In the impression of the people of the town, Emily and her father’s image were fixed into 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”（Faulkner, 1930: 283）. In this frozen painting, the image of the father was portrayed as powerful, while Emily, who was hidden behind his father, was extremely weak. The father’s behavior has caused a mental imprisonment for Emily, and her thoughts and actions are completely determined by her father’s wishes. Therefore, she has been living in the shadow of her father, rejecting all changes that have taken place around her. It is precisely because of this, Emily loses the chance to interact with others under her father’s protection. Due to the lack of communication with the outside world and the “ladylike” education she received from childhood, Emily gradually became silent and isolated, which laid a foreshadowing for her later distortion of human nature.
2.2 Inequality between men and women in the view of love
Emily is a symbol of American South, who has been strictly disciplined by her father, is completely under the control of her father. She longs for love during her teenage years, but she does not dare to confess directly to men. Until her father died, her long-repressed emotions were like a flood of floodgates. But because of the oppression and restraint for a long time, her personality became more isolated and refused to change. So when she met Homer Barron who was passionate, impetuous and had a strong ability in public relations, she fell madly in love with him. Besides, Homer’s character can also be reflected by the description of the novel, “Pretty soon he knew everybody in town. Whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group.” （Faulkner, 1930: 284）; “Homer Barron with hid hat cocked and a cigar in his teeth, reins and whip in a yellow glove.”（Faulkner, 1930: 286）. She wishful thinking Homer loved her as well and would grow old with her, but she lacks communication with Homer and never knows what he is thinking. Later Emily didn’t care about the unusual eyes of the people in small towns and insisted on confessing to Homer, but the result was rejected. And from the details in the text : “because Homer himself had remarked——he liked men,and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elk’s Club——that he was not a marrying man”（Faulkner, 1930: 286） , it can be seen that Homer personally admitted that he is a homosexuality. Regardless of whether he is an excuse or a fact, in short, he refused the good intentions of the noble lady. Moreover, he longs for freedom, is not willing to be bound by marriage, and will not provide a stable marriage to Miss Emily. This result is a fatal blow to Emily. She holds the view that the rejection of Homer is a provocation against her dignity and the southern aristocracy. Therefore, Emily would rather kill him to maintain her dignity.
2.3 Traditional scapegoats in the south
After the Civil War, the society of the United States had undergone tremendous changes:feudal forces had gradually declined and capitalism had risen. This could result in the southern plantation economy inevitably suffered from the impact of industrialization. The aristocrats in the south stubbornly resisted the loss of wealth and status. They missed the glorious times of the past and tried to stop the pace of social progress. As a descendant of aristocracy, Miss Emily naturally became the “embodiment of tradition” and a part of the glorious past of the south. At the same time, she is also the object of constant attention in the town. The plantation economy brings a social class structure that distinguishes it from other regions. Large-scale plantation owners have become local aristocrats, who have the deep-rooted“white supremacy” of the southerners and the “Southern dignity” thoughts that permeate the southern culture. In the debate between the North and the South on the issue of slavery, the southerners showed their sense of localism and resolutely defended the dignity of the South. In their view, the dignity of the southerners is inviolable. As the only nobleman in the town, Emily is used to raising her head high and always sticking to her aristocratic status. She is arrogant and does not care about the worldly vision and the views of others. And she is unwilling to face the changes of the times. For example, Emily fell in love with a Yankee named Homer who came to the town after her father’s death, but this matter was criticized by the town’s people. The reason they opposed this was because Emily was considered a Southern aristocracy, and Homer was a northern ape. According to the traditional values of the South at the time, Emily must be matched for marriage, but not married to the civilians. But she doesn’t care about the opinions of others, and insists on falling in love with him and even planning to get married. Therefore, when Homer refused her confession, Emily considered that her self-esteem was humiliated, so she gambled on her own life and even offended the law to defend her dignity as a southern aristocracy and the spirit of southern culture that had become a thing of the past.
3. Human survival dilemma and conflict
3.1 Distortion of human nature
First of all, from Emily’s life experience, she was born into an aristocratic family in the south before the Civil War and received aristocratic education from an early age. The old traditional family edification drove her to become a typical aristocratic woman, whose character and thoughts deeply imprinted the brand of the old times. When her father was alive, she ducked behind her father who waved the whip arbitrarily, driving away all those who loved his daughter and asked for his daughter’s hand. After the death of his father, Emily became the epitome of the traditional value system in the American South. It can also be seen from the description of the details in the novel. “Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days”“she broke down”（Faulkner, 1930: 283-284）.This series of blows made Emily’s psychology abnormal. The identity of the nobility made her more lonely, so she chose not to leave the house to escape the reality.