does the story seem to you totally grim, or do you find any humor in it?Does "A Rose for Emily" seem to you totally grim, or do you find any humor in it?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "A Rose for Emily," the image of the "small, fat woman....bloated with eyes lost in the fatty ridges of her face," as "a lump of dough" who  is able to "vanquish" the sheriff and aldermen when they come to collect taxes seems rather silly, indeed, as does the description of the ladies of the town having the "temerity" to call upon Emily.  That Emily believes that she is yet the "high and mighty Grierson" is humorous in light of the fact that she is a decaying recluse with a decrepit little black man as her only servant. 

Somewhat humorous, too, is the image of relatives from Alabama rushing to Emily's house when they learn that she is associating with a "common" Northerner.  And, there is a macbre humor in the scene in which "The Negro met the first of the ladies at the front door...with their hushed, sibilant voices and their quick, curious glances" in section V as is the looming picture of the patriarch beneath which sit the old men wearing Confederate uniforms who imagine that they had once danced with Emily as they cling to the "vanquished" dream of the Old South, "confusing time with its mathematical progression, as the old do...."

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Faulkner's main purpose when writing most of his stories is to share his own criticism of society.

In a "Rose for Emily" you can almost hear him laughing in the background when he describes those specific "Old South" customs, behaviors, and lifestyle as if almost feeding you up exactly what people imagine about the Old South, so that you (like he) draw your own conclusions as to the antiquarian and particular nature of it all.

It is also interesting how he succinctly named Homer, especially since Homer was presumably a homosexual. He was ironic in that Homer would also be a Northerner.  On and all, the story does draw both irony and humor, morbidity and even a slice of history



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A Rose for Emily

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