Explain the quote below and say how it foreshadows the ending of "A Rose for Emily"?From "A Rose for Emily": "Then we knew that this was to be expected too; as if that quality of her father which...

Explain the quote below and say how it foreshadows the ending of "A Rose for Emily"?

From "A Rose for Emily": "Then we knew that this was to be expected too; 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."

Asked on by tranngoc

1 Answer | Add Yours

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Emily has taken up with Homer Baron and her distant relatives come to talk her out of her involvement with Homer. While the relatives are at Emily's home, trying to convince her to come to her senses concerning Homer, he leaves town. During this time, while the cousins are visiting and Homer is out of town, that Miss Emily buys rat poison, arsenic. Homer returns again when the relatives leave. One night he is seen going into the house by the back door opened by the man servant, and he is never seen again. Emily herself isn't seen for six months after that, except for brief glimpses of her at the window, for instance when the town's officials are sprinkling lye in her yard to get rid of an atrocious stench coming from something in or around the house. It is at this point in the story that the narrator makes the quoted statement.

Then we knew that this was to be expected too; 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.

This means that considering the kind of man Grierson (Emily's father) was, it made sense to the townspeople that Emily would retreat into her own mind after being abandoned by Homer--as surely she must have been since he was never seen again. They attributed Emily's behavior to the overwhelming affect of Grierson's dominance upon Emily's delicate psychology. A key phrase in the quote is "quality of her father." This is important to understanding this quote. The narrator does not mean to suggest that the father had in any way been "too virulent and furious to die" but that the effect he had upon Emily was too powerful and overwhelming to die; today, we might say the post traumatic stress syndrome caused by her father's dominance was to strong to be subdued.

This quote foreshadows the part of the surprise ending that relates to Emily herself. The narrator says her father "thwarted [Emily's] woman's life so many times," which refers to a woman's standard desire for a man's love. It was the fulfillment of this desire that her father had so successfully "thwarted" (meaning to oppose successfully and to prevent from occurring) all through Emily's youth, so much so that she reached the age of thirty with every suitor being "driven" from the door. This foreshadows the surprise ending where it is seen that Emily has taken matters into her own hands to prevent her suitor being driven from her door by anyone and to insure the fulfillment of her "woman's life" by using arsenic to keep Homer for herself for all the rest of her life.

We’ve answered 318,986 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question