A Rose for Emily

Essay by Mehmood April 2010

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A Rose for Emily

Emily could easily be your maiden aunt, the one the family is vaguely aware of but absentmindedly overlooks when getting together for weddings and holiday cheer. A novice Faulkner reader would assume this to be a short story of wearying tedium and antiquated imagery. This novice reader would be wrong. Faulkner's story of Miss Emily has deep meaning, symbolism, and subtleties; this essay will explore the work of three groups enacting the story of A Rose for Emily and demonstrate the many ways the story has been interpreted. Different people have different opinions concerning the meanings of classic writing; this is demonstrated in these three (3) videos.

When considering the first enactment video (Ogasawara, 2001), the highly intricate handling of the first-person plural voice, A Rose for Emily was handled well by the selection of a sedate and measured narrator (Peter Coleman). His timing and appropriate pauses allow the watcher to anticipate the next frame and wonder what the neighbors will find in Emily's boarded room.

For the average watcher, i.e., one who has not read Faulkner's story themselves, the short video's composition is linked well enough to at least encourage the observer to read the story for missing elements. Accurate quotations from the story are effective when portraying the focal scene of breaking into the barricaded room after Emily's death. Actor's timing was well done but unbelievable when only discovering the corpse after the mirror is uncovered. A particularly well-done effect was the dust covering the room's objects, the pathos of the man's suit, shoes, and tie covered in a thick layer of dust, and the corpse's facial features contorted and frozen layered in the same dust.

The second video (n.d.) was an amateurish effort to focus on too many elements of the story in...