Is Judith Feterley's argument effective+convincing in her interpretation, "A Rose for 'A Rose for Emily'"?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fetterley asserts that Emily is the result of what happens to a woman in a patriarchal society. By treating Emily as a lady, the men of the old and new generations in her town empowered her to be able to get away with not paying her taxes and the murder of Homer Barron. Fetterley says, "And because nobody sees her, she can literally get away with murder." The men don't see her; they just have a stereotypical concept of her because she's a woman. "Having been consumed by her father, Emily in turn feeds off Homer Barron, becoming, after his death, suspiciously fat." Emily becomes her father, changing from the girl in white to an obese, gray-haired woman. The violence Emily's father inflicted upon her, she inflicts upon Homer Barron.

Here are some points to consider. Is Emily pretending just to get out of paying her taxes when she tells the men to talk to Colonel Sartoris? Is Emily affected by how her father treats her and then his death? If so, how? Does Emily isolate herself from the town because she's angry at her father, only appearing in public with Homer? Is she feeling loneliness, or anger and hatred? The arsenic is bought when Homer leaves for a few days. Why does he leave, and why does he come back? Why do you think Emily kills him and then keeps his body upstairs?

Go to the link below to find several theories on this topic.

Read the study guide:
A Rose for Emily

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