Characteristics of Emily Grierson in "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

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  • Topic: William Faulkner, American Civil War, Sartoris
  • Pages : 3 (855 words )
  • Download(s) : 284
  • Published : December 6, 2012
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Tanya Hart
Czerny
English 101
2 November 2012
Never Letting Go of the Past: A Rose for Emily

Throughout “A Rose for Emily”, William Faulkner reveals that change didn’t come so easy to some of the folk living in the south at the end of the American Civil War. Some people of the south clung to the values and the way of life, for which they once knew. Miss Emily Grierson was one of these folk. Throughout “A Rose for Emily”, “Emily represents the Pre-Civil War South, and her mind is stuck in the past time period” (Shokouhfar, par. 4). Her actions depicted throughout the story exemplify her unwillingness to abide by new found rules and her fear of losing and letting go. After the death of her father, Emily refused to believe he had past and resorted back to her ordinary life. She had lived under his control for so long and it was hard for her to accept his death knowing she will not have anyone to govern her life anymore. As the people of Jefferson “come to offer condolence and aid” (Norton, 791), she acts like nothing has happened “with no trace of grief on her face” (Norton, 791). Emily was filled with despair with the death of her father, knowing she would now be alone and change was about to come. This led her to keep her father’s body in the house while telling people, “her father was not dead” (Norton, 791). After three days of her unconscious behavior, the people “were about to resort to law and force” (Norton, 791) ,but Emily finally “broke down” (Norton, 791) and released her father’s body for a quick burial. The people of the town have characterized Emily Grierson as a woman of southern hierarchy that is unable to give in to the demands of the new era of post-Civil War. After her father’s death, Emily began to receive tax notices in the mail and she simply ignored them or mailed them back without comment. Emily believes that she is exempt from paying taxes because “Colonel Sartoris”, a sheriff of previous generations, “invented an involved tale...
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