Names in A Rose for EmilyOkay, I'd like to open the topic of names in "A Rose for Emily."How do the names contribute to the meaning or emotional effect of the story? For example, Miss...

Names in A Rose for Emily

Okay, I'd like to open the topic of names in "A Rose for Emily."

How do the names contribute to the meaning or emotional effect of the story? For example, Miss Emily falls for Homer...but rather than being a poet, he was a working man. He was, however, blind, at least to her charms.

Does this contribute? Or am I reaching too far? And at least as important, how can we tell?

Thanks!

Greg

Asked on by gbeatty

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renelane's profile pic

renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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I would also like to know what she was thinking, after he was dead. How was Emily able to live in that house day after day with a dead man in it? Much less lay down at night next to a dead body. Of course, I realize that she was out of her head at that point, but it would be fascinating to have the story of her day to day existence after Homer's death.

gbeatty's profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Homer certainly revealed the truth about Emily, didn't he?  Rewriting the story from his point of view would be an interesting exercise.  How did he catch her fancy? Did he abuse her, I wonder, and did she find this comfortable, given the nature of her relationship with her father that we infer from the tableau of them (abusive at least in terms of power)? Did she murder him because he planned on leaving her or because she tired of putting up with his insults (assuming he did insult her)? It is hard to imagine he was gentle and kind with her, given the characterization of him the narrator offers.

A very cool idea--Homer's story. I may have to write that. It would also be interesting to fill in the gaps in Emily's story--what did she think was happening at each stage, from facing down the town council to the actual courtship.

Turning to your specific speculations, I hadn't followed that road of reflection very far. I think I'd be more interested in how she processed her attraction towards him. He is not, after all, who she should be with, given her standing.

Interesting...

 

Greg

sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Homer certainly revealed the truth about Emily, didn't he?  Rewriting the story from his point of view would be an interesting exercise.  How did he catch her fancy? Did he abuse her, I wonder, and did she find this comfortable, given the nature of her relationship with her father that we infer from the tableau of them (abusive at least in terms of power)? Did she murder him because he planned on leaving her or because she tired of putting up with his insults (assuming he did insult her)? It is hard to imagine he was gentle and kind with her, given the characterization of him the narrator offers.

gbeatty's profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Names in A Rose for Emily

Okay, I'd like to open the topic of names in "A Rose for Emily."

How do the names contribute to the meaning or emotional effect of the story? For example, Miss Emily falls for Homer...but rather than being a poet, he was a working man. He was, however, blind, at least to her charms.

Does this contribute? Or am I reaching too far? And at least as important, how can we tell?

Thanks!

Greg

Wow, Greg....I never thought of it this way! I don't think you are reaching too far at all. 

Think first of Emily's father's name, Colonel Satoris.  "Satoris" was the name of Faulkner's 1929 novel of the same name.  The novel detailed the decline of the Mississippi aristocracy.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is the same "Colonel Satoris" in the novel, or at least a very early incarnation.

Homer may indeed be analogous to the epics of the great orator, but in an ironic way.  This "Penelope" is certainly not content to wait on the attentions of her beloved.  She takes matters into her own hands.

As for Emily herself, might Faulkner be alluding to the Emily Dickinson poem, "Nobody Knows This Rose"?  Here is the text.  I hope others will comment!

Nobody knows this little Rose -- It might a pilgrim be Did I not take it from the ways And lift it up to thee. Only a Bee will miss it -- Only a Butterfly, Hastening from far journey -- On its breast to lie -- Only a Bird will wonder -- Only a Breeze will sigh -- Ah Little Rose -- how easy For such as thee to die!


 

Ah, thank you Jamie.

I had made the Sartoris connection, but hadn't thought to connect with Emily Dickinson. Nice link.

If we make that link--and add in the rose link--it works, we can also add in other Dickinson poems, like "I Died for Beauty..."

I died for beauty but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

Homer died for telling the truth, in some ways.

Greg

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

"Dickinson and Faulkner--A Short Study in Literary Parallels" by 
Ellis Millen. 
The English Journal, Vol. 75, No. 3 (Mar., 1986), p. 37.  This is a citation for a short poem dedicated to the "two Emilies."  The site will not allow me to cut and paste, but opening lines are: "Transposed, migrated, reset / Two Emilies / One-- white, starched,  / One--black, mildewed, light starved...."

Interesting call for both of you. The connection between the Emilies is interesting, and the poem handles it beautifully. In fact, I think I'll teach the short story in connection with the poet.  I particularly like the use of the dashes here to emphasize the parallels.

(continuation of Billy Collins' poem "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes")

Later, I wrote in a notebook
it was like riding a swan into the night,
but, of course, I cannot tell you everything -
the way she closed her eyes to the orchard,
how her hair tumbled free of its pins,
how there were sudden dashes
whenever we spoke.

What I can tell you is
it was terribly quiet in Amherst
that Sabbath afternoon,
nothing but a carriage passing the house,
a fly buzzing in a windowpane.

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

"Dickinson and Faulkner--A Short Study in Literary Parallels" by 
Ellis Millen. 
The English Journal, Vol. 75, No. 3 (Mar., 1986), p. 37.  This is a citation for a short poem dedicated to the "two Emilies."  The site will not allow me to cut and paste, but opening lines are: "Transposed, migrated, reset / Two Emilies / One-- white, starched,  / One--black, mildewed, light starved...."

Interesting call for both of you. The connection between the Emilies is interesting, and the poem handles it beautifully. In fact, I think I'll teach the short story in connection with the poet.  I particularly like the use of the dashes here to emphasize the parallels.

First, her tippet made of tulle,
easily lifted off her shoulders and laid
on the back of a wooden chair.

And her bonnet,
the bow undone with a light forward pull.

Then the long white dress, a more
complicated matter with mother-of-pearl
buttons down the back,
so tiny and numerous that it takes forever
before my hands can part the fabric,
like a swimmer's dividing water,
and slip inside.

You will want to know
that she was standing
by an open window in an upstairs bedroom,
motionless, a little wide-eyed,
looking out at the orchard below,
the white dress puddled at her feet
on the wide-board, hardwood floor.

The complexity of women's undergarments
in nineteenth-century America
is not to be waved off,
and I proceeded like a polar explorer
through clips, clasps, and moorings,
catches, straps, and whalebone stays,
sailing toward the iceberg of her nakedness.

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Do you know Billy Collins' poem "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes"?  I have to post it in two responses.  I think it's worth it!

sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

"Dickinson and Faulkner--A Short Study in Literary Parallels" by 
Ellis Millen. 
The English Journal, Vol. 75, No. 3 (Mar., 1986), p. 37.  This is a citation for a short poem dedicated to the "two Emilies."  The site will not allow me to cut and paste, but opening lines are: "Transposed, migrated, reset / Two Emilies / One-- white, starched,  / One--black, mildewed, light starved...."

Interesting call for both of you. The connection between the Emilies is interesting, and the poem handles it beautifully. In fact, I think I'll teach the short story in connection with the poet.  I particularly like the use of the dashes here to emphasize the parallels.

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Names in A Rose for Emily

Okay, I'd like to open the topic of names in "A Rose for Emily."

How do the names contribute to the meaning or emotional effect of the story? For example, Miss Emily falls for Homer...but rather than being a poet, he was a working man. He was, however, blind, at least to her charms.

Does this contribute? Or am I reaching too far? And at least as important, how can we tell?

Thanks!

Greg

Wow, Greg....I never thought of it this way! I don't think you are reaching too far at all. 

Think first of Emily's father's name, Colonel Satoris.  "Satoris" was the name of Faulkner's 1929 novel of the same name.  The novel detailed the decline of the Mississippi aristocracy.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is the same "Colonel Satoris" in the novel, or at least a very early incarnation.

Homer may indeed be analogous to the epics of the great orator, but in an ironic way.  This "Penelope" is certainly not content to wait on the attentions of her beloved.  She takes matters into her own hands.

As for Emily herself, might Faulkner be alluding to the Emily Dickinson poem, "Nobody Knows This Rose"?  Here is the text.  I hope others will comment!

Nobody knows this little Rose -- It might a pilgrim be Did I not take it from the ways And lift it up to thee. Only a Bee will miss it -- Only a Butterfly, Hastening from far journey -- On its breast to lie -- Only a Bird will wonder -- Only a Breeze will sigh -- Ah Little Rose -- how easy For such as thee to die!


 

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