Faulkner's A Rose For Emily: A Literary Analysis

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Similar to “they” who lend advice to Emily’s mother, strangers and institutions also pertain to choice. Specifically, Emily’s mother’s decision to repeatedly send Emily away to various strangers and institutions emphasizes the consequences of such choices and the concept that one’s environment may automatically make choices for them. Emily’s mother does not have a choice in where Emily stays, for in order to even remotely provide for Emily, she must find a job and work relentlessly. For instance, Emily’s mother leaves Emily with an unappreciative neighbor as she “work[s] or look[s] for work” (Olsen 2). This is ironic in the fact that her work simultaneously provides for Emily and puts greater distance between them by robbing Emily of her presence.…show more content…
Emily’s slow development results from existing with strange people in strange places away from a caring adult. The strangers symbolize the decisions that the environment forces Emily’s mother to make, along with the accompanying ramifications. Furthermore, through Emily’s profuse experiences with strangers and institutions – all unassociated with her mother – Emily becomes a stranger herself, especially in regards to her comedy performances. When Emily’s mother witnesses Emily on stage, she “only recognize[s] her that first moment when thin, shy, [Emily] almost drowned herself into the curtains. Then: [Is] this Emily” (Olsen 6)? Reflected in Emily’s mother’s belief that “There is all that life that has happened outside of me,” even the woman connected by blood cannot fathom the true identity of her daughter (Olsen…show more content…
As a result of the different people and places she comes in contact with, Emily is a victim of constant instability and emotional disregard, both of which ultimately influence her behavior. Each individual or establishment examines the concept of nurture and how the environment alters her attitudes and actions. The earliest mention of this is at eight months, when Emily’s mother has to “leave [Emily] daytime with the woman downstairs to whom she was no miracle at all” (Olsen 2). Seemingly, the “woman downstairs” fails to provide appropriately for Emily’s needs. In spending great quantities of time with one who does not recognize her strengths, Emily develops low self-esteem and a belief in her personal insignificance, with this pattern merely continuing as time progresses. The nursery school, which Emily’s mother describes as a “parking place[] for children” also emphasizes the conditions of Emily’s life (Olsen 2). Even when she makes excuses to escape the abusive atmosphere of the nursery school, there is “never a direct protest, never rebellion” witnessed by Emily’s mother of Emily (Olsen 2). Emily distances herself from her situation as a way to cope with the conditions of her environment. Specifically, Emily learns helplessness through perceived powerlessness. Later, Emily’s illness requires her to reside in a convalescent home, where “‘They don’t like you to love

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