A Rose for Emily: Feminist Work?Can one consider "A Rose for Emily" a feminist work? Do you think there are feminist elements?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Unless you consider killing the man who rejected you and sleeping next to his rotting corpse a form of "female power" and "taking control of one's life", I don't think that "A Rose for Emily" is overly feminist.  Feminist themes of equality and empowerment are not really a main aspect of the story.  In fact, Emily lets life's circumstances lead her along (excepting of course, when she murdered Homer), and she did little to change or better her situation.  Faulkner describes her as fat and bloated, she was very dependent on her father, she hovered creepily about the house and rarely left, and was incredibly ill-informed and educated about money and other realities of life.  That does not sound like a woman proud of herself, strong or empowered.  Plus, Faulkner wrote it.  He tends to focus on individuals who sometimes get disturbing or unsettled in their struggle with the world; feminism was not a big theme of his.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, I wouldn't consider the story to be feminist at all. Emily is a spinster, and all the townspeople, including the narrator, think of her as a spinster. She's not an independent woman who chooses not to marry and live alone. She goes to great lengths to keep a man with her!

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emily's only empowering act is in poisoning Homer Barron; she claims him in death as she has claimed her father and an antiquated system in which she has been dominated.  Emily chooses only at the end of the story, for she has been regarded as a "monument" by the townspeople.

amimost | Student

Emily is depicted as a weak and dependent woman because of the way that she is treated by the town.When her father died and she had no man to care for her, the town absolved her tax duties.The town tried to be considerate of her eccentricities,because she was a lady with no one save her servant.This caretaking of Emily by the town shows the opinion of women during that time period.Without a man,Emily was considered somewhat helpless.Another way,Emily represents females as dependent to admit her father’s death.When he dies,she refuses to let anyone remove his body from their house.It’s as if she feels she needs his comforting and protection.Without a man, she is lost.In the end,the man who Emily had a relationship with is found dead and decayed in an upstairs bedroom after her death.There is evidence that she would lay in the bed with the men after his death.This is another way that Emily is portrayed as needy and weak.She feels she needs a man so badly that she must keep her lover even after his death.I think most feminists would read this theme into A Rose for Emily.Perhaps the only way Emily was portrayed as strong or independent is in her lifestyle.She lives alone with only a servant.She does what she wants without regard to the concerns of the people around her.In this way, she shows some evidence of the qualities of independence and self-reliance that feminists believe women should exhibit.This was a strange and almost disturbing story.

lulu-pixy | Student

 i think that miss emily  was under her father control  

and the domination of her father led her to be spinster,  because her father always refuse  who want to marry emily     so, may be faulkner  want us to think about  as feminism

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A Rose for Emily

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