Saturday, January 13, 2007 6:06 PM I'm proud of this

In most cases I was a poor English student. However, when visiting my parents over Christmas I found a paper that I wrote in University of which I'm very proud. I've decided to type it up and put it online because at least one friend has expressed interest in it. I'm not entirely certain of why I like the paper. The grammar isn't particularly great, and the point isn't particularly amazing. Here it is, nonetheless

Lakin Wecker
Ms. Westerbeck
English 102
April 2, 1999.

Neighborhood Watch: The Curious Town That Killed Homer Baron
In "A Rose For Emily," William Faulkner presents an old southern town filled with curious people who make it their business to know everyone else's, especially the business of an aging lonely southern woman. Miss Emily Grierson never did find a mate good enough for her father or the townspeople. Her father turned away countless suitors, deciding himself their worth, and the townspeople expected her to find a prince charming, never approving her boyfriends. The ever present townspeople eventually drove her to find a mate that would never leave her, one that she could love and cherish forever, her "rose".

Emily grew up in "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, set on what had once been our most select street(55)." She probably grew up with almost every luxury that a little girl could want, yet as a teenager and young adult there was something she never ever received, a mate for life. Every man she found was not good enough for her father or the town. Just as her house slowly decomposed, so did her sanity, as she was constantly under pressure to find a perfect husband. Eventually they both stood in disarray. Both worn down from their own pressures of survival, the house from old age and weather, Emily from the constant pressure of her father and the townspeople.

Emily was released from most of this pressure when her father died while she was still young. This relief was so great her mind refused to accept the truth that she was finally free. She received the condolences without grief, saying "that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her (57)." She felt as though her father had robbed her from the one thing in life everyone yearns, marriage. The townspeople knew that "She would cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.(57)"

After her father's death, Emily disappeared for a long time. She finally reappeared with short hair that summer. She was starting to rebel from her father's control already. In the old south it would have been considered to be heresy to cut your hair short if you were a girl. Her hair was a statement of independence, of being able to do whatever she pleased whenever she wanted. Soon after cutting her hair short, she rebelled again by beginning to date Homer Barron. Homer was a northerner and a day laborer who was in town only because he was the foreman of a paving company who was hired to pave the sidewalks of their town. He was exactly the type of suitor that Emily's father turned away many times.

While Emily was dating Homer townspeople began to talk saying "Of course a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer.(57)" They were glad that she had an interest, but thought "that even grief could not cause a real lady to forget noblesse oblige(57)." Emily's new-found freedom was vanquished. The townpeople had taken the place of her father. They were happy she found a friend, but would not believe that she could think seriously of him as a mate. Not a Grierson at least, not a lady of her position and power, she was just having fun. Emily inevitably heard people saying such things, and took it to heart. Emily had slowly become serious about Homer, serious enough to want him to not to leave her.

Homer, on the other hand, was nearing the end of his stay in Jefferson and was preparing to move on. He knew that he could never marry her, because he would never be accepted by the town as a worthy mate of hers. He was a day laborer and liked to hang out at the bar with the younger men, drinking and having fun. He was ready to move on to another town and another Miss Grierson.

Emily could not accept the fact that he was going to leave. She wanted him as hers, as her flower to keep forever. It was then that she bought the poison. When she didn't kill herself, people forgot about the arsenic. Shortly after that the paving company left for the next town, and Homer went for one last visit to Emily. People saw him enter that night and the townspeople never heard from him again. Afraid to ask too many questions of a Grierson, the people accepted the fact that he had left.

It wasn't until after the funeral that the townspeople figured out the truth. Most of the town attended the funeral. The men because of respect for a fallen monument, and the women out of curiosity. Even after her death she could not escape the trap of being born a Grierson. People were still curious of what went on in her life. They had the resepect to wait until she was buried, but after her Negro left for good and she was in the ground, they all went upstairs to her forbidden room that had been locked up long ago. They wanted to know what went on in this house. The first thing they noticed when they opened the door of the room, was the dust, then it was the body in the bed. They discovered Homer Barron's body in her bed, with a strand of long gray hair beside it.

After Emily's father died, she believed she was free from the controlling power of her name, but it never left her. She begain to date Homer thinking that if she wanted she could marry him, but soon found this not to be true. The townspeople had taken the place of her father not accepting Homer as a suitable husband for her. When she heard of this, she was forced to make sure that Homer would never leave her. He came over for his last visit, and she promptly invited him to stay forever with her. The town pushed Emily too far, pushing her to find someone to stay with her forever, but her rose wilted as roses do, after she picked it and brought it home forever.

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