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Kendall Dickson
English 112/ 2B
30 May 2015
A Rose for Emily Marxist View

Before government records were even remotely possible to be held, humans

and the societies around them were still placing people in social classes. It is human
nature to classify citizens into societal roles based on their wealth and power. Karl
Marx, a late 19th century German Philosopher, believed that works of literature are
mere products of history that can be analyzed by looking at the social material
conditions in which they are constructed. This theory is best understood in todays
world of literature as the struggles that are brought upon us with socio economic
classes. The story A Rose for Emily is best understood by analyzing it through this
lens that identifies the differences in attitudes and behaviors within each social
In the beginning of A Rose for Emily, the reader will shortly realize that Miss
Emily Grierson is an outlier to the general population of her town. Emily is under
some sort of impression that she is much better than the townspeople because she
comes from a family of wealth and higher income than the rest. Miss Emily has lived
alone for some time since her father passed away. She shuts herself out from
society throughout the story. Although she is shut out from society, the people of
the town seem to keep involved in her business, even though not much is going on
in her life. The townspeople seem to keep tabs on her as if they were her fans, or
some sort of news anchors, trying to get ahold of the inside scoop of Emily Grierson.
Naturally, she is held higher than the average, middle-class townsperson. This is the

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same instance as in todays society, how many people keep up to date with some of
the wealthiest people in their cities. She is almost being held as high as some fallen
celebrity. It is as if the upper class is a show on television and the middle/ lower
class is the audience. It seems as if any little thing may go on in Miss Emilys life,
the town is on top of the information almost before it even happens. Miss Emily
started spending time with a man from the North, Homer Baron. When the
townspeople witnessed the reoccurring events between Emily and Homer spending
time with each other, the townspeople began to talk. Poor Emily, was a common
phrase from the townspeople, believing that Miss Emily wasnt living properly,
having been hanging around with a Yankee. Her family would never have approved
of that, being a wealthier family revolved around the south. This mindset that the
townspeople have of Emilys behavior clearly outlines the big picture of the Marxist
socio-economic struggles. Just because one of a high-class family acts different than
the rest, it is assumed by the people watching to be out of order because her family
raised her much better or acts all the same. The social gap between high class and
the rest is expanded by how the townspeople critique her on everything. This also
applies to how the Towns women may be in competition with one another; showing
signs of jealousy.
The Marxist theory holds many ideologies between social classes and elitism.
One of these ideologies focus on how the elites try to separate themselves from
society because they are better. In A Rose for Emily, the Griersons have separated
themselves from society for generations. Their house is in solitude; It Is separated
from the community. Miss Emily stayed in the house day by day, not being seen by
any unless she was out with Homer, but after some time, Homer Baron was gone.
Little did the town know that his corpse was resting in Miss Emilys house. This

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presented a rank odor surrounding the whole house. Could this have been another
reason for her to poison Homer Baron? She wanted separation for society so she
caused the house to smell of a rank odor. Or it could have been that she wanted to
keep her personal life so personal that it had to be locked, dead in one room of a
gigantic house that was shut away from the community as it was. This supports the
Marxist ideology of how the upper class makes their best attempt to keep their
personal life private, and away from the general knowledge of the population.
In conclusion, the reader can best understand the story through the Marxist
lens. This lens underlines the socioeconomic ideologies that are presented through
the behaviors of the characters in the story. Marxs theory helps people understand
not only the actions of the characters, but better yet, the thoughts of each
character and why they act as they do.