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A Rose for Emily

In the book “A Rose for Emily”, Emily Grierson is one of the main characters. Emily is depicted as the classic outsider. Shmoop (2010) cites that her personality gives her great ability to control and limit the town’s access to her real self. Emily is a mysterious figure who is difficult to understand. Her peculiar habits and personality runs through the plot of the story in every scene.

Her life gets transformed from once a vibrant and hopeful young lady whose radiance attracted many suitors although her late father denied them chance to have as a wife. She develops into cloistered and secretive old woman whose lifestyle, personality; philosophy of life remains difficult to understand (Shmoop, 2010). Her original vibrancy and hopeful personality as young woman thus ends with the fateful encounters that follow after the demise of her father.  

Born in to a proud aristocratic family, Emily is brought up in a setting that has a lot of restrictions. This family considers itself very superior to any other family in town (Shmoop, 2010). Perhaps it is this attitude that makes Miss Emily’s father to turn-off the suitors that proposed to marry her. Although the author does not reveal the onset of Emily’s mysterious and stubborn nature, the strictness of the father can be pointed to as the cause of her later mysterious personality. The social background that Emily grows up in is depicted by the author to have had a bearing her development of ideal social skills. This plays out when she walks out of Eulola, Elda, Reavis and Dewey when they visited to console her over the demise of her poor father (Faulkner & Robinette, 1983).

After losing her father, Emily becomes an object of the town’s intense scrutiny and pity for the townspeople. For example when visited by Eulola, Elda, Reavis and Dewey to pass their condolences following the demise of her father, she surprisingly takes a defensive stance to the utter dismay of the friends, including the family doctor, Reavis. She says, “My daddy is not dead,” (Faulkner & Robinette, 1983).

Her sense of denial of the demise of the only man she knew more about reveals exposits further her mysterious personality.  Faulkner & Robinette (1983) illustrates that she insisted “my father is not dead” for three days. This denied even ministers opportunity to build an emotional bond with her so as to allow them to dispose the remains of her father. Emily holds to her father even after his death. She can be described as “a woman of fate” since the death of her father appears to really bring down her life to a halt.

Emily’s tragic and mysterious life is evident in her stereotypical, southern “eccentric,” unbalanced and extreme behavior that is full of bizarre. She disregards the law and refuses to pay her taxes. She reasons that she was told by Colonel Sartoris who was the mayor that her father had lent the town some money (Faulkner & Robinette, 1983). In a way of paying her back for this borrowed money she alleges that all her taxes were already remitted or should be waivered. In fact she stubbornly tells an alderman who shows up at her door, “I have no taxes in Jefferson.”  Emily’s attitude that she is always right makes her tell the adamant man that came for taxes, “see Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson,” (Faulkner & Robinette, 1983).

Miss Emily’s peculiar woman personality that remains difficult to decipher plays out in another scene when she goes to the pharmacy to buy some poison. She tells the pharmacists openly that she wants some poison and confidently says, “I want the best you have. I don’t care what kind,” (Faulkner & Robinette, 1983). This also exposes Emily’s very demanding personality.

Further, she refuses to have numbers attached to her house after the legislation for federal mail service is instituted. Her serial dismissal of the law exposes her to more sinister consequences as she goes ahead and takes the life of Homer, the man whom she refuses to allow abandoning her (Faulkner & Robinette, 1983). She therefore murders her own lover that she was to marry. She poisons him and seals the corpse in an upstairs room. It is also amazing how Miss Emily hides the remains of Homer Baron until people started complaining about the smell from her house. Faulkner & Robinette (1983) cited that asked about this, she confidently says, “It’s probably a snake or a rat that Niger of hers killed in the yard.” This further illustrates the peculiarity and instability of this character.

Emily’s instability leads into her psychosocial deviations. Her ideals mysteriously and tragically erode further into a necrophiliac with sexual attraction to the dead. This is better illustrated by her secretive and unconventional choice to spend with the remains of Homer on the same bed after poisoning him (Shmoop, 2010). The narrator also succeeds in portraying the subject as a monument and a pitied, irritating and object of gossip by people around her. Perhaps this is because of her rather mysterious and unstable personality. This personality is better illustrated in her decision to purchase poison, an act that made the townspeople seal her fate (Faulkner & Robinette, 1983).

In conclusion, Miss Emily Grierson is a character whose personality throughout the book remains enclosed and can best be described as mysterious, tragic and fateful. This is depicted throughout the plot and setting of the book “A Rose for Emily”.  In my personal opinion, Miss Emily is generally portrayed in the story as a very troubled lady. All her troubles, stubbornness and crazy behavior begin with the death of her father.

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