Heroines in Literature

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Day 1

Objectives: Students will examine how ethics of Henrik Ibsen’s central male character perpetuate the chain of events pivotal to the plot of A Doll’s House.

Aim: How does Ibsen use the ethics of  the central male character Torvald Helmer to perpetuate the plot?

Texts:

  • A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
  • Nora’s Final Inheritance in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House by Naalie Hamm Devaull
  • The Female Jouissance – ( A Female Transgression) by Anne Marie Rekdal

Resources:

Do Now: How would you describe Torvald’s relationship with his wife Nora and his childhood acquaintance Krogstad?

Resources: Victorian values, beliefs and ethics

Mini Lesson

Thesis statements : What does each center upon? Can we prove it with textual evidence?

  1. Torvald’s demeaning view of and reference to Nora as a witless and feeble animal throughout enforces his view that it is right for a woman to be beautiful and dependent.
  2. Torvald worries that others will declare him unethical if he continues to retain Krogstad as an employee at the bank once he has taken his post as manager. That they knew each other as children causes Krogstad to take a familiar tone with Torvald, who fears that this familiarity in his new and high-ranking position at the bank will be a cause for ridicule by others in his employ. Anything or anyone that deviates from Torvald’s maintaining of the most respectable of appearances is quickly expelled.
  3. Torvald is ever one to set forth the propriety of a situation, especially when it comes to matters of money. He is vehemently against borrowing money, believing it to be a form of dependency on outside forces that detracts from the beauty of home life.

Independent Practice

1. Why does Torvald see only the impropriety of his wife’s legal and financial indiscretions?

2. Instead of considering the circumstances behind Krogstad’s illegal actions, Torvald looks upon Krogstad’s forgery as an act of treachery signifying a lack of moral character. Why?

Exist Slip:  How does Ibsen use the ethics of  the central male character Torvald Helmer to perpetuate the plot?

Homework: Write a micro-essay on how Ibsen uses the ethics of  the central male character Torvald Helmer to perpetuate the plot.

Day 2  A Doll’s House

Objectives: Students will analyze how Nora transgresses the law controlled by males.

Aim: How does Nora’s dance suggest the beginning of transgression?

Resources:

Texts:

  • A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
  • Nora’s Final Inheritance in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House by Naalie Hamm Devaull
  • The Female Jouissance – ( A Female Transgression) by Anne Marie Rekdal

Do Now: How does Nora act in the beginning of the play up to the moment to her dancing scene?

Mini Lesson

Many view the tarantella represents Nora’s relinquishment of her ” death” to her doll-like existence and that it means an existential transformation in to a ” self-reliant, responsible free spirit… the dancing of the self out of darkness or oblivion into the light of civilized existence”.

Some also say that Nora’s dance is an expression of Nora’s psychological-existential transformation as a woman. Comment on the statement.

Independent Practice

1. Compare Nora’s action before the tarantella and after to confirm the changes within her.

2.  Find evidence that Nora has discovered in her intense experience that ” existence precedes essence ” that willed decision  and the action must anticipate the merely abstract idea of her personal significance and give it substance.

2. How do Nora’s divergent personalities in the 1st and 3rd acts represent a consistent  female character in different positions with regard to the patriarchal social systems and her husband, Helmer?

Exit Slip: Is Nora iconic of feminism? Why or why not?

Homework:

  1. Find three quotations from the play that demonstrate Nora’s transformation.
  2. Do research on Victorian era. Pop quiz on Monday 3/28.
  3. Write a micro essay to analyze Nora as a transformed character who has transgressed the social norms of a woman.

Day 3 A Doll’s House

Objectives: Students will analyze the play through Ibsen’s use of masquerade as a metaphor for repression.

Aim: How does Ibsen use masquerade as a metaphor to describe Nora’s repressive psyche?

Do Now:  Jot down two scenes in the play that involves masquerade (hiding, seeking, false identify ,true identity).

Mini Lesson:

  1. Masquerade is the central motive in the drama. It is a structuring element in the plot; it is a central event in the action, a textual theme.
  2. THE SETTING
  3. THE Act of concealment- Christmas tree, game of hide-and-seek, Nora kept the fact hidden that she borrowed money to save her husband’s life but reveals the secret to Mrs. Linde
  4. Sky-lark and squirrel function as a repressive code that reinforces his paternal authority. Helmer calls Nora a child and she responds with the gestures of a child and the language of a child. She defends herself with a child’s denial of realities when Tovald suspects her of having bought confectioneries.
  5. Elf child. sky lark etc. are Helmer’s images of Nora’ as he want her to be. She refers herself as a third person subject, as an animal or pet or non-human subject. Such “mirroring” between two individuals corresponds to an imaginary identification within herself or the other ( usually a mother for a child). The ego is a projected image of illusion and alienation domination in the imaginary order. Helmer through pet names gives Nora new imaginary , alienated “ego”-identity such as sky lark. In a fatherly and didactic manner, he stays in control and explains things to Nora. Through the phantasm, the subject gains a feeling of wholeness and completeness, and through the imaginary phantasm, desire can be maintained and serve as a barrier against  the real, which is always a threat to the existence of the subject. Nora’s gaiety and her “objects of pleasure” work as imaginary stabilization of what in her existence is hidden and concealed but threatens to rise to the surface.
  6. The fragile imaginary stabilization collapse when Krogstad tries to make use of Nora’s forgery to keep his position in the bank.
  7. Nora’s transgression is shown through her excitement in confessing to Mrs. Linde what she has done- how she obtained the money for the trip they made in order to save Tovald’s health. She hums and plays the coquette and seems to take great pleasure in her memories of the forged signature. In her imagination, her transgression of the law is associated with the experience of pleasure. In her imagination, daring and prohibition are interwoven with the respectable motives of saving her husband and shielding her sick father. By forging signature, Nora reproduces the inadequate patriarchy but challenged simultaneously the  the law. When she signs her fatehr’s signature in order to get money, she breaks with the social limitations of women in her time and it can be interpreted as her taking on a masculine role. Her action can therefor be viewed as bot crime and indifference to the laws of the society and as rebellion.
  8. When Nora confesses to Mrs. Linde that ” I forged a signature”, she articulates her responsibility for the transgressions. Through the dialogue with Mrs. Linde, Nora gains her  insight into the masquerade which hides both her crime and pretense of her life with Helmer. Mrs. Linde helps Nora gain her awareness of the new self hidden within her.
  9. The tarantella, the masquerade of the subject- the dance is the climax of Nora’s display of beauty. In a state of mounting fear bordering on madness, Nora tried to postpone the crisis.The dance is to purge the deadly poison of the tarantula by dancing it out of the body. It is an expression of fear bordering to madness and a sensuous zest for life that also operates as a regenerative process. 9 see pages 168-169 of the Jouissance article)
  10. Female Jouisance escapes the masculine restraints and is a jouissance that can be given a place within the symbolic order and be articulated.( page 170-173)

Homework: Write an essay in which you analyze how Nora emerges from the  doll house as a “doll”  and transforms into a woman who fully denounces the traditional rules that govern women determined by men. Your analysis needs to include her beginning role ( her mask as a doll) and her relationship with Helmer , the turning point where she is struggling with her subject and self( she becomes aware of herself through the tanrantella dance), to Dr. Rank’s death when she is ready to embrace the truth( she asks Helmer to read the letter) to her speechless state while being scolded by Helmer to her taking over the language and reversing  the roles. Her final leaving the three children seals her total denouncement of the patriarchal society and traditional women’s role and makes her transgression of the law complete.

________________________________

2005 Open-Ended Response

In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening( 1899), protagonist Edna Pontelier is said to posses ” that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions.” In a novel or play, that you have studies, identify a character who conforms outwardly while questioning inwardly. Then write an essay in which you analyze how this tension between outward conformity and inward questing contributes to the meaning of the work. Avoid mere plot summary.

2002 Form B

Often in literature a character’s success in achieving goals dependent on keeping a secret. In a well-developed essay, briefly explain the necessity for secrecy and how the character’s choice to reveal or keep the secret affects the plot and contributes to the meaning of he work as a whole.

_________________________________________

 “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

Day 1

Objectives: Students will analyze how Faulkner use complex and provocative language to  make sense of  his disordered chronology and shocking ending; they will also examine the tone as expressed in the title.

Aim: How does Faulkner use a catalogue of five adjectives pertaining to Emily , which is placed at the end of part IV, to unify the story? What tone is conveyed by Faulkner through the title ” A Rose for Emily”?

Texts:

  1. “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
  2. ” The Ghostly Voice of Gossip in Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily’” by Thomas Klein
  3. ” Faulkner’s ‘ A Rose for Emily’” by Hal Blythe

Resources:

  1. Themes in A Rose for Emily:  http://www.shmoop.com/a-rose-for-emily/themes.html
  2. A Critical Study of William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”: http://www.public.coe.edu/~theller/essays/rose.htm
  3. About William Faulkner: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-bio.html

Do Now:

  1. Recall how the various events arranged in anachronistic manner in the story are connected to make sense for the reader. Write-pair-share
  2. Are you surprised by the ending? Explain briefly. ( Review yesterday’s lesson)
  3. Share Homework Assignment from yesterday- How does Faulkner rely on reader’s experiences to construct the meaning of the story? How does he exploit his readers first before shaking them from the doxic (based on such intellectual processes as belief or opinion) mindset?

If we have further questions, we’ll explore the answer together today in this lesson.

Mini Lesson

In today’s lesson, we will focus on one sentence quoted from the story and examine how it unifies the story:

” Thus she passed from generation to generation- dear,inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse”.

Since ” A Rose for Emily” is essentially a series of flashbacks, the statement is offered by the narrator after the events in the story have transpired. With this in mind, one can see that the quotation serves both as an important unifying device for the story as well as a subtle ( typically Falknerian) elements of foreshadowing.

Does it make any sense to anyone?

I’ll exemplify. Each of the five adjectives in the catalogue corresponds to one of the five parts of the story in the order in which those parts are presented.

  1. The 1st adjective, “dear”, can mean sweet or cherished or even costly. And it is in part 1 of the story that we see Emily refusing to pay her municipal taxes, despite a direct confrontation with the Board of Aldermen.
  2. What’s the 2nd event? The 2nd adjectives ” inescapable” refers to the incident of ” the smell” in part II: as the body of Homer Barron decomposes, the town cannot escape the graphic testimony to Emily’s presence in the community. Question; Why is her presence a graphic testimony?
  3. We’ll work on the 3rd one together. The 3rd adjective is ” impervious” ( meaning unaffected and impenetrable), which matches the event in part III: Emily stonily refuses to concede to the law in regard to the purchase of poison as illustrated in “Miss Emily just stared at the [druggist], her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye until he looked away and went and got arsenic…”.  On a more ironic note, her affair with Homer Barron confirms her imperviousness, ” She carried her head high enough–even when we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson; as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness to reaffirm her imperviousness.” Question: How do the villagers feel about her getting involved with Barron? Why does it “reaffirm her imperviousness”?
  4. Do any of the events refer or related to ” rose”? Then what does the absence of rose , which is in the title, suggest the author’s tone at this point?

Independent Practice:

In small groups,  identify the events the 4th & 5th  adjectives ” tranquil”& ” perverse” correspond to. Do the following once you have identified the events ( See Mini Lesson #3)

  1. Interpret the meaning of ” tranquil”& ” perverse”
  2. Describe the event  and its connection to the adjective in a  2- 3 sentences respectively.
  3. Analyze why the event show the ” perverse” characteristic in Emily.
  4. Provide an example of textual evidence.

Share in class your finding and analysis.

Wrap -up: In conclusion, Faulkner”s placement of  adjectives at the end of part IV serves as an important unifying device in this emotionally complex and anachronistic narrative. At a key moment in a story which is organized ” by feeling rather than logic” , the adjectives afford the reader an opportunity to pause, consider again the mass of information conveyed in the 1st four parts of the story, to anticipate the startling conclusion, to trace the narrator’s emotional response to Emily- in short, to seek the order which underlines the narrative. The effect is apparent. As Faulkner once said himself, ” In a short story that ‘s next to a poem, almost every word has got to be almost exactly right…”

Exit Slip: Based on the quotation we have analysed today, how would you describe the tone reflected in the title ” A Rose for Emily”?

Homework: Summative Assessment

Explication: Write an essay on “Conflict in the Plot of Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” considering the five adjective we have discussed in today’s lesson as well what the voice of the narrator, “we”, represents.

Day 2 “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

Objectives: Students will examine the significance of the short story in a historical and social context; they will also analyze the universal representation of the female protagonist, Emily Grierson as well as themes .

Aim: What social and historical significance does the short story embody? What does Emily represent in this discourse? What are the themes illustrated?

Texts:

  1. “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
  2. ” The Ghostly Voice of Gossip in Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily’” by Thomas Klein
  3. ” Faulkner’s ‘ A Rose for Emily’” by Hal Blythe
  4. Banquet Speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony by William Faulkner

Resources:

  1. Themes in “A Rose for Emily”:  http://www.shmoop.com/a-rose-for-emily/themes.html
  2. A Critical Study of William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”: http://www.public.coe.edu/~theller/essays/rose.htm
  3. About William Faulkner: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-bio.html
  4. William Faulkner’s acceptance speech at the Nobel Prize banquet

Do Now:

Respond to a quotation made by Faulkner during the ceremony of Nobel Prize, “According to Faulkner, “…the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.” What does this quotation reveal about Faulkner as a writer? We’ll share our written responses briefly.

Mini Lesson                 

Let’s first become familiar with some facts of the social and historical contexts in which the story takes place-

A.The  setting of the story is Mississippi County, Yoknapatawpha ( near Jackson, Mississippi)Here is a timeline of the events that take place in the story ( from the end of the Civil War to the dawn of the World War II).

1861 – Miss Emily Grierson is born.
1870s – The Grierson house is built.
1893 – Miss Emily’s father dies.
1893 – Miss Emily falls ill.
1893 – Miss Emily’s taxes are remitted (in December).
1894 – Miss Emily meets Homer Barron (in the summer).
1895 – Homer is last seen entering Miss Emily’s house (Emily is “over thirty; we use thirty-three for our calculations).
1895 – The townspeople become concerned about the smell of the Grierson house and sprinkle lime around Emily’s place.
1895 – Miss Emily stays in for six months.
1895-1898 – Miss Emily emerges and her hair gradually turns gray.
1899 – Miss Emily stops opening her door, and doesn’t leave the house for about five years.
1904 – Miss Emily emerges to give china-painting lessons for about seven years.
1911 – Miss Emily stops giving painting lessons. Over ten years pass before she has any contact with the town.
1925 – They “newer generation” comes to ask about the taxes. This is thirty years after the business with the lime. This is the last contact she has with the town before her death.
1935 – Miss Emily dies at 74 years old. Tobe leaves the house. Two days later the funeral is held at the Grierson house. At the funeral, the townspeople break down the door to the bridal chamber/crypt, which no one has seen in 40 years.Cited from http://www.shmoop.com/a-rose-for-emily/setting.html

 

B.Here are some major historical and social facts during this period –

  1. The end of the Civil War ushered in one of the most conflicted periods in American history.
  2. It was the Great Depression and World War II in the early 1940s that ushered in changes that fundamentally reshaped the southern landscape, changes even greater than those brought about by the Civil War in the view of many historians of the region.
  3. The demise of the sharecropping system among whites and blacks marked a revolution in the state’s economic system with equally important implications for the state’s social system. New Deal farm programs, established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, did little to address the needs of the poorest of the poor.
  4. Very many freed African Americans migrated to the North to start a new life. A) Poverty, the lack of educational facilities for the children, rigid segregation and discrimination, and limited opportunities were all among the reasons that led some to look North. B)  The most important was the massive collapse of Southern agricultural employment. The principal factors contributing to this economic disaster were great declines in the prices of sugar, tobacco, and especially cotton, C) With the onset of the worldwide depression, cotton prices fell from 18 cents a pound in 1928 to less than 6 cents a pound in 1931, which forced many workers to leave the South. D) Besides a dire economic situation, Southerners, as they had done during the Great Migration, were also fleeing Jim Crow. E) With little hope of redress in the justice system, African Americans were at the mercy of abusive employers, landlords, and almost anyone bent on depriving them of their rights. Rigid segregation dominated  public spaces
  5. Then, the horrors of World War II revealed the terrible tragedy that racial hatred and injustice produced, and black and white Christians pointed out the contradictions between American rhetoric and reality.

 Now let’s become familiar with Faulkner’s intention as a writer-

In the following two passages, what universal themes of Faulkner’s writing are stated or implied?

  1. Universal Themes in Faulkner’s writing as expressed in the biographical description of him – ” In an attempt to create a saga of his own, Faulkner has invented a host of characters typical of the historical growth and subsequent decadence of the South. The human drama in Faulkner’s novels is then built on the model of the actual, historical drama extending over almost a century and a half. Each story and each novel contributes to the construction of a whole, which is the imaginary Yoknapatawpha County and its inhabitants. Their theme is the decay of the old South, as represented by the Sartoris and Compson families, and the emergence of ruthless and brash newcomers, the Snopeses. “

 Questions: What does “decadence of the old South” mean? (post-Civil War and  colonial Southern culture impinged by racism and class structure)

2. In Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech , he shared his belief   as a writer” … that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”

Question: How does this passage illustrate the author’s attitude for the “ fallen monument”, Emily Grierson as symbolized in the title “ A Rose for Emily” beside the fact that her character portrayal is almost that of grotesque nature.

Independent Practice:

Read the following passage about Faulkner’s enigmatic portrayal of Emily Grierson-

“Faulkner plays with the incalculable and the unimaginable as a rhetorical challenge to readers in this work and others. His odd characters confirm a “human condition in which the uncanny other, as a densely signifying representational figure, always bears the signatures of the narrative’s affective ambivalence and epistemological uncertainty” (Zeitlin 624). Emily may be Faulkner’s most uncanny and enigmatic figure, her mystery magnified by the story’s lack of details about her private world. We trace her struggles with personal grief, a restricted social life, socio-economic decline, and romantic misfortune, a long history of trauma and repression. Faulkner selectively conceals and reveals Emily with narrative mystifications that range from presumption to denial, thereby deconstructing received modes of interpretation through the sheer effect of negative capability. The tale’s impenetrable plot, unique figurations and double-voiced metanarrative “we” (122) subvert any definitive closure on Emily’s improbable life.”

Respond to the question: In the light of the historical and social contexts  in which the story of “A Rose for Emily” takes place, how does Faulkner show the “decadence of the South”( hints: The story  can be viewed as criticism of the post-Civil War Southern society through  blatant, almost stereotypical depictions of the harshest parts of colonial Southern culture, including racism and class structure)  through the depiction of  Emily Grierson’s decline and degradation? How does Faulkner also demonstrate his compassion and pity for the tragic and yet gruesome  female protagonist?

Group A: The story A Rose for Emily can be viewed as criticism of the post-Civil War Southern society. Reading this story, we find very blatant, almost stereotypical depictions of the harshest parts of colonial Southern culture, including racism and class structure. Faulkner is clearly commenting on the ways of his own culture which he finds unfair or unjust. Racism is an unforgettable part of southern history which Faulkner certainly explores in “A Rose for Emily”. Find examples in the story to illustrate the point.
Group B: Class-structure is another aspect Faulkner explores in “A Rose for Emily”. He places the main character as a member of a formally upper class family. It is heavily implied that Emily no longer holds the former wealth of her family, but she is nonetheless feared by the community as an upper class citizen. Find examples to illustrate the point.

Wrap Up: As we examine closely the story or any literary work, we can see within the implications of social and historical contexts , which can be illuminated through characters or themes. Emily in the story “A Rose for Emily” is such an illumination of the declining  and decadent Southern culture  during the post-Civil War era.

Exit Slip: ( you may post the response in Turnitin.com):  Based on our discussion today, write a sentence or two to describe a theme ( the overall meaning of the story) on the central ideas of conditions of human heart, isolation, memory and the past, visions of America, visions of reality , compassion and forgiveness.

Homework: Use the notes in the discussion forum (#8) to write your essay. Explication: Write an essay on “Conflict in the Plot of Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”.

Day 3 “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

Objectives: Students will analyze how Faulkner use complex and provocative language to  make sense of  his disordered chronology and shocking ending; they will also examine the tone as expressed in the title.

Aim: How does Faulkner use a catalogue of five adjectives pertaining to Emily , which is placed at the end of part IV, to unify the story? What tone is conveyed by Faulkner through the title ” A Rose for Emily”?

Texts:

  1. “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
  2. ” The Ghostly Voice of Gossip in Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily’” by Thomas Klein
  3. ” Faulkner’s ‘ A Rose for Emily’” by Hal Blythe

Resources:

  1. Themes in A Rose for Emily:  http://www.shmoop.com/a-rose-for-emily/themes.html
  2. A Critical Study of William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”: http://www.public.coe.edu/~theller/essays/rose.htm
  3. About William Faulkner: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-bio.html

Do Now:

  1. Recall how the various events arranged in anachronistic manner in the story are connected to make sense for the reader. Write-pair-share
  2. Are you surprised by the ending? Explain briefly. ( Review yesterday’s lesson)
  3. Share Homework Assignment from yesterday- How does Faulkner rely on reader’s experiences to construct the meaning of the story? How does he exploit his readers first before shaking them from the doxic (based on such intellectual processes as belief or opinion) mindset?

If we have further questions, we’ll explore the answer together today in this lesson.

Mini Lesson

In today’s lesson, we will focus on one sentence quoted from the story and examine how it unifies the story:

” Thus she passed from generation to generation- dear,inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse”.

Since ” A Rose for Emily” is essentially a series of flashbacks, the statement is offered by the narrator after the events in the story have transpired. With this in mind, one can see that the quotation serves both as an important unifying device for the story as well as a subtle ( typically Falknerian) elements of foreshadowing.

Does it make any sense to anyone?

I’ll exemplify. Each of the five adjectives in the catalogue corresponds to one of the five parts of the story in the order in which those parts are presented.

  1. The 1st adjective, “dear”, can mean sweet or cherished or even costly. And it is in part 1 of the story that we see Emily refusing to pay her municipal taxes, despite a direct confrontation with the Board of Aldermen.
  2. What’s the 2nd event? The 2nd adjectives ” inescapable” refers to the incident of ” the smell” in part II: as the body of Homer Barron decomposes, the town cannot escape the graphic testimony to Emily’s presence in the community. Question; Why is her presence a graphic testimony?
  3. We’ll work on the 3rd one together. The 3rd adjective is ” impervious” ( meaning unaffected and impenetrable), which matches the event in part III: Emily stonily refuses to concede to the law in regard to the purchase of poison as illustrated in “Miss Emily just stared at the [druggist], her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye until he looked away and went and got arsenic…”.  On a more ironic note, her affair with Homer Barron confirms her imperviousness, ” She carried her head high enough–even when we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson; as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness to reaffirm her imperviousness.” Question: How do the villagers feel about her getting involved with Barron? Why does it “reaffirm her imperviousness”?
  4. Do any of the events refer or related to ” rose”? Then what does the absence of rose , which is in the title, suggest the author’s tone at this point?

Independent Practice:

In small groups,  identify the events the 4th & 5th  adjectives ” tranquil”& ” perverse” correspond to. Do the following once you have identified the events ( See Mini Lesson #3)

  1. Interpret the meaning of ” tranquil”& ” perverse”
  2. Describe the event  and its connection to the adjective in a  2- 3 sentences respectively.
  3. Analyze why the event show the ” perverse” characteristic in Emily.
  4. Provide an example of textual evidence.

Share in class your finding and analysis.

Wrap -up: In conclusion, Faulkner”s placement of  adjectives at the end of part IV serves as an important unifying device in this emotionally complex and anachronistic narrative. At a key moment in a story which is organized ” by feeling rather than logic” , the adjectives afford the reader an opportunity to pause, consider again the mass of information conveyed in the 1st four parts of the story, to anticipate the startling conclusion, to trace the narrator’s emotional response to Emily- in short, to seek the order which underlines the narrative. The effect is apparent. As Faulkner once said himself, ” In a short story that ‘s next to a poem, almost every word has got to be almost exactly right…”

Exit Slip: Based on the quotation we have analysed today, how would you describe the tone reflected in the title ” A Rose for Emily”?

Homework: Summative Assessment

Explication: Write an essay on “Conflict in the Plot of Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” considering the five adjective we have discussed in today’s lesson as well what the voice of the narrator, “we”, represents.

Day 4 “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

Objectives: Students will examine the significance of the short story in a historical and social context; they will also analyze the universal representation of the female protagonist, Emily Grierson as well as themes .

Aim: What social and historical significance does the short story embody? What does Emily represent in this discourse? What are the themes illustrated?

Texts:

  1. “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
  2. ” The Ghostly Voice of Gossip in Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily’” by Thomas Klein
  3. ” Faulkner’s ‘ A Rose for Emily’” by Hal Blythe
  4. Banquet Speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony by William Faulkner

Resources:

  1. Themes in “A Rose for Emily”:  http://www.shmoop.com/a-rose-for-emily/themes.html
  2. A Critical Study of William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”: http://www.public.coe.edu/~theller/essays/rose.htm
  3. About William Faulkner: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-bio.html
  4. William Faulkner’s acceptance speech at the Nobel Prize banquet

Do Now:

Respond to a quotation made by Faulkner during the ceremony of Nobel Prize, “According to Faulkner, “…the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.” What does this quotation reveal about Faulkner as a writer? We’ll share our written responses briefly.

Mini Lesson                 

Let’s first become familiar with some facts of the social and historical contexts in which the story takes place-

A.The  setting of the story is Mississippi County, Yoknapatawpha ( near Jackson, Mississippi)Here is a timeline of the events that take place in the story ( from the end of the Civil War to the dawn of the World War II).

1861 – Miss Emily Grierson is born.
1870s – The Grierson house is built.
1893 – Miss Emily’s father dies.
1893 – Miss Emily falls ill.
1893 – Miss Emily’s taxes are remitted (in December).
1894 – Miss Emily meets Homer Barron (in the summer).
1895 – Homer is last seen entering Miss Emily’s house (Emily is “over thirty; we use thirty-three for our calculations).
1895 – The townspeople become concerned about the smell of the Grierson house and sprinkle lime around Emily’s place.
1895 – Miss Emily stays in for six months.
1895-1898 – Miss Emily emerges and her hair gradually turns gray.
1899 – Miss Emily stops opening her door, and doesn’t leave the house for about five years.
1904 – Miss Emily emerges to give china-painting lessons for about seven years.
1911 – Miss Emily stops giving painting lessons. Over ten years pass before she has any contact with the town.
1925 – They “newer generation” comes to ask about the taxes. This is thirty years after the business with the lime. This is the last contact she has with the town before her death.
1935 – Miss Emily dies at 74 years old. Tobe leaves the house. Two days later the funeral is held at the Grierson house. At the funeral, the townspeople break down the door to the bridal chamber/crypt, which no one has seen in 40 years.Cited from http://www.shmoop.com/a-rose-for-emily/setting.html

 

B.Here are some major historical and social facts during this period –

  1. The end of the Civil War ushered in one of the most conflicted periods in American history.
  2. It was the Great Depression and World War II in the early 1940s that ushered in changes that fundamentally reshaped the southern landscape, changes even greater than those brought about by the Civil War in the view of many historians of the region.
  3. The demise of the sharecropping system among whites and blacks marked a revolution in the state’s economic system with equally important implications for the state’s social system. New Deal farm programs, established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, did little to address the needs of the poorest of the poor.
  4. Very many freed African Americans migrated to the North to start a new life. A) Poverty, the lack of educational facilities for the children, rigid segregation and discrimination, and limited opportunities were all among the reasons that led some to look North. B)  The most important was the massive collapse of Southern agricultural employment. The principal factors contributing to this economic disaster were great declines in the prices of sugar, tobacco, and especially cotton, C) With the onset of the worldwide depression, cotton prices fell from 18 cents a pound in 1928 to less than 6 cents a pound in 1931, which forced many workers to leave the South. D) Besides a dire economic situation, Southerners, as they had done during the Great Migration, were also fleeing Jim Crow. E) With little hope of redress in the justice system, African Americans were at the mercy of abusive employers, landlords, and almost anyone bent on depriving them of their rights. Rigid segregation dominated  public spaces
  5. Then, the horrors of World War II revealed the terrible tragedy that racial hatred and injustice produced, and black and white Christians pointed out the contradictions between American rhetoric and reality.

 Now let’s become familiar with Faulkner’s intention as a writer-

In the following two passages, what universal themes of Faulkner’s writing are stated or implied?

  1. Universal Themes in Faulkner’s writing as expressed in the biographical description of him – ” In an attempt to create a saga of his own, Faulkner has invented a host of characters typical of the historical growth and subsequent decadence of the South. The human drama in Faulkner’s novels is then built on the model of the actual, historical drama extending over almost a century and a half. Each story and each novel contributes to the construction of a whole, which is the imaginary Yoknapatawpha County and its inhabitants. Their theme is the decay of the old South, as represented by the Sartoris and Compson families, and the emergence of ruthless and brash newcomers, the Snopeses. “

 Questions: What does “decadence of the old South” mean? (post-Civil War and  colonial Southern culture impinged by racism and class structure)

2. In Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech , he shared his belief   as a writer” … that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”

Question: How does this passage illustrate the author’s attitude for the “ fallen monument”, Emily Grierson as symbolized in the title “ A Rose for Emily” beside the fact that her character portrayal is almost that of grotesque nature.

Independent Practice:

Read the following passage about Faulkner’s enigmatic portrayal of Emily Grierson-

“Faulkner plays with the incalculable and the unimaginable as a rhetorical challenge to readers in this work and others. His odd characters confirm a “human condition in which the uncanny other, as a densely signifying representational figure, always bears the signatures of the narrative’s affective ambivalence and epistemological uncertainty” (Zeitlin 624). Emily may be Faulkner’s most uncanny and enigmatic figure, her mystery magnified by the story’s lack of details about her private world. We trace her struggles with personal grief, a restricted social life, socio-economic decline, and romantic misfortune, a long history of trauma and repression. Faulkner selectively conceals and reveals Emily with narrative mystifications that range from presumption to denial, thereby deconstructing received modes of interpretation through the sheer effect of negative capability. The tale’s impenetrable plot, unique figurations and double-voiced metanarrative “we” (122) subvert any definitive closure on Emily’s improbable life.”

Respond to the question: In the light of the historical and social contexts  in which the story of “A Rose for Emily” takes place, how does Faulkner show the “decadence of the South”( hints: The story  can be viewed as criticism of the post-Civil War Southern society through  blatant, almost stereotypical depictions of the harshest parts of colonial Southern culture, including racism and class structure)  through the depiction of  Emily Grierson’s decline and degradation? How does Faulkner also demonstrate his compassion and pity for the tragic and yet gruesome  female protagonist?

Group A: The story A Rose for Emily can be viewed as criticism of the post-Civil War Southern society. Reading this story, we find very blatant, almost stereotypical depictions of the harshest parts of colonial Southern culture, including racism and class structure. Faulkner is clearly commenting on the ways of his own culture which he finds unfair or unjust. Racism is an unforgettable part of southern history which Faulkner certainly explores in “A Rose for Emily”. Find examples in the story to illustrate the point.
Group B: Class-structure is another aspect Faulkner explores in “A Rose for Emily”. He places the main character as a member of a formally upper class family. It is heavily implied that Emily no longer holds the former wealth of her family, but she is nonetheless feared by the community as an upper class citizen. Find examples to illustrate the point.

Wrap Up: As we examine closely the story or any literary work, we can see within the implications of social and historical contexts , which can be illuminated through characters or themes. Emily in the story “A Rose for Emily” is such an illumination of the declining  and decadent Southern culture  during the post-Civil War era.

Exit Slip: ( you may post the response in Turnitin.com):  Based on our discussion today, write a sentence or two to describe a theme ( the overall meaning of the story) on the central ideas of conditions of human heart, isolation, memory and the past, visions of America, visions of reality , compassion and forgiveness.

Homework: Use the notes  to write your essay. Explication: Write an essay on “Conflict in the Plot of Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”.