Theme Of Isolation In A Rose For Emily

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Tony Wagner famously says, “Isolation is the enemy of improvement.” It is such an idea that William Faulkner portrays in his short story “A Rose for Emily,” published in 1930. Faulkner, born on September 25, 1897, is often seen using long lists of description and is well known for his poetry and novels set in the American South. During his time, Faulkner earned many awards such as The 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, the 1955 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, and the National Book Award (Biography). Through the setting of the story, the symbolism the other characters display, and the irony in Emily’s actions, Faulkner illustrates the pitfalls of physical and mental isolation in “A Rose for Emily.”
In the short story “A Rose for Emily,” an unrevealed
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Tobe, a Negro that works for Miss Emily and sticks by her throughout her life, symbolizes isolation. On page 12, Faulkner explains that when Miss Emily died, the only person that was left for Emily was Tobe, whom the townspeople had given up trying to get information from because he never talked. Tobe shows isolation because he does not even have a family, or anyone else to look after when Emily died. On page 12, the narrator refers back to when the Negro met the townswomen at the door after Miss Emily died, and then was never heard from again. Tobe walked out of the back door and just disappeared. Faulkner also states, “He talked to no one, probably not even her, for his voice had grown harsh and rusty, as if from disuse” (12). From this, we can conclude Miss Emily, who would intermittently give china painting lessons, is more social than Tobe. Miss Emily’s isolation since the beginning of the story when her father died however, showed an impact on Tobe. Miss Emily is one of the main factors as to why Tobe became isolated from …show more content…
At the end of the story, Emily’s cousins discover a dark secret she has been hiding in a locked upstairs room. Breaking the door, Emily’s cousins find a room decorated for a wedding with a bed. “The man himself lay in the bed. For a long while, we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin. The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him” (13). With the evidence of Homer Barron disappearing, and the awful stench coming from Miss Emily’s house, we can conclude that she, Miss Emily, killed Homer. Although Emily isolated herself from society; she clearly did not want to be alone as she portrayed by killing Homer to stop him from leaving her alone. After Miss Emily’s cousins found the body of Homer, they further investigated the room on page 14. On the pillow next to Homer, they find a head indention along with a long strand of gray hair. This further shows irony in the fact that all Miss Emily wanted in life was to be loved, yet she refused to let anyone alive be close to

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