Rose Emily Essay Questions

Rose Emily Essay Questions-35
These same students might be heartened to learn that an obstinate allegiance to their own particular reading of the text, any text, is validated by the most voguish literary theory. If this is the case, then meaning is not something one discovers or extracts but, rather, something one confers or creates.According to the new paradigm that obtains in the classroom-at least among the avant-garde--teachers should no longer assume the role of hierophant, the initiated priest practiced in the freemasonry of literary hermeneutics, while students, benighted acolytes, gape and scribble down our oracular pronouncements. This model supplants the old aristocratic ideal, where a powerful, privileged reader-the teacher-dispenses authorized readings, ex cathedra, to mute vassals.

These same students might be heartened to learn that an obstinate allegiance to their own particular reading of the text, any text, is validated by the most voguish literary theory. If this is the case, then meaning is not something one discovers or extracts but, rather, something one confers or creates.According to the new paradigm that obtains in the classroom-at least among the avant-garde--teachers should no longer assume the role of hierophant, the initiated priest practiced in the freemasonry of literary hermeneutics, while students, benighted acolytes, gape and scribble down our oracular pronouncements. This model supplants the old aristocratic ideal, where a powerful, privileged reader-the teacher-dispenses authorized readings, ex cathedra, to mute vassals.As the ghastly conclusion of the story makes clear, however, our narrator and the townspeople he represents had only and always seen Emily from the outside-as the fact that they penetrate the inside of her house only after her death emphasizes.

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Thus, as our brighter students might reasonably argue, if Emily Grierson so adamantly defies appearances, and convention, why not Homer Barron, her immortally beloved?

Thematically, would it not be fitting if Homer, too, were not what he pretends or is supposed to be?

Given their distinct, apparently incompatible personalities, as well as the other impediments-social, cultural and practical-keeping them apart, it seems reasonable to suppose that their relationship may be founded upon an attraction or commonality not readily discernible.

Although the narrator supposes a sexual liaison between Homer and Emily-"'What else could . .'" (125)-his judgment, and those of the townspeople whose gossip he merely reports, has already proven to be unreliable; the revelation at the conclusion of the story, perhaps more surprising to the narrator than to meticulous readers, challenges us to reevaluate and question everything the narrator has told us to that point.

And many of these same students conclude, strangely, that Homer Barron, Emily Grierson's suitor in Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," is gay.

Homer Barron, a bluff man with a "big voice" who "cuss[es] the niggers" and despoils Southern womanhood, gay?One of the numerous, underappreciated advantages of being a teaching assistant or lecturer is the opportunity to teach anthologized stories over and over again to more or less recalcitrant freshmen.Though surprises, good and bad, occur, one becomes pretty adept at anticipating students' reactions and deducing their readerly assumptions and habits.That such a boisterous, outgoing man-we are told, for example, that "pretty soon he knew everybody in town" (124)-should want to spend solitary time with Jefferson's most isolated and secretive citizen should alert our suspicions, but for reasons different than those inferred by the townspeople.In fact, by the time Homer Barron arrives to oversee construction of the sidewalks, Emily is already 30 to 34 years old, well past her prime-as least as it was calculated in those days.Positing that Homer Barron is gay not only raises a new set of questions but transforms "A Rose for Emily," or at least our perspective of it, in important ways.Most importantly, perhaps, it requires that we devote more attention to Homer-if only to account for his enigmatic, transgressive presence-and relatively less to Emily.What in the world-or in the text-could prompt such an anomalous reading, and does this reveal more about the story or our students?Perhaps the most intriguing, if unanswerable question raised by the story is, what happened between Emily and Homer? Did they agree, as we are led to suppose, to marry?Few, for example, figure out (unless their literary roommate has told them) what the man and woman in "Hills Like White Elephants" are debating-though, when told, they find it very ironic that "Jig," the woman, consumes so much alcohol despite her apparent concern for her child.Most first-time readers of "Araby" recognize that the tale concerns juvenile infatuation, yet few appreciate, on their own, how the boy's feelings are colored and conditioned by his religious environment.

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