Sometimes people are forced to do irrational things due to the circumstances they are
up against. I will play devil's advocate and defend these two characters, Emily Grierson
and Ellen Weatherall, by justifying their actions, to prove to you, the jurors, that they are
not criminally quilty but insane because of extenuating circumstances.
In A Rose for Emily, Emily had a big problem dealing with change. This is seen at
the time of her father's death, as well as when the new generation came to collect taxes.
After her father's death "all the ladies came to offer condolences and aid", but Emily
tried to play off that he was not dead. Many tried to enter but she insisted that nothing is
wrong. Finally, after three days, she let the community in and they took her dead father
(163). Another example of Miss Emily's inability do deal with change is seen when her
taxes are coming to be collected. The Colonel had granted Emily a pardon from taxes,
after her father's death. However, years later, the new generation insisted Emily must
pay her taxes. Her reply, "I don't have taxes in Jefferson. Go see Colonel Satosis."
(162). She had to have known that the Colonel had been dead for many years, but it was
her inability to deal with change that led her to say these words. As seen, with this
example Miss Emily was constantly trying to escape the past, but for her the past was
impossible to avoid.
Furthermore, Miss Emily's father had a strong hold on her up till the point of his
death. Being the only male figure in her life, it was impossible to meet and date other
men. According to her father, "no one was good enough for his daughter. Many times
the town's people would see him appear in the foreground clutching a horsewhip (163).
After her father's death, Emily never knew another male figure, which concludes she was
completely reliant on the figure of her father. However, it is impossible to rely on
something that does not exist, thus she had to rely on someone else, Homer. Once he
entered he life, Emily had something to hold on to, something to care about, like how she
cared about her father. Homer became the male figure that was missing in Emily's life.
Since all her life she could not have any man she desired, she chose Homer. She was
completely satisfied with her choice and was determined to never let him go. Emily did
not care what the community felt about her. She carried her head up high as she drove
with Homer in the yellow-wheeled buggy on Sunday afternoons (164). In fact the people
were happy and believed, "she would marry him or at least persuade him too" (165).
However, Emily soon found out that Homer liked men (165) and he had no intentions of
marrying her. As a result, she went to the pharmacy to purchase poison but insisted that
she have arsenic with no questions asked (164). This statement shows that many women
will got to extreme lengths to keep a man in their life. Her irrational decision to kill
Homer was the only way that Emily knew she could truly have him was in death.
On the other hand, in The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, the main character Granny
was "jilted" by the man she loved (156). "What does a woman do when she has put on
the white veil and set out the white cake for a man and he does not come?" (156). Instead
of being devastated, Granny realized that she must make the best of it. However, Granny
was faced with a dilemma whether to raise the child she conceived with her fiancé,
George. During this era, having a baby out of wedlock would have been frowned upon
by society. So secretly as she was digging the postholes for the fence she killed her first
born. From that point on Granny became a changed woman (155). The...
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