Miss Emily Grierson in "A Rose for Emily"

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“A Rose for Emily” is a short story written by William Faulkner. The narrator, who appears to be speaking for the townspeople, tells the story in first person. The reader learns about the main character, Miss Emily Grierson, through a re-telling of moments of her life. This discussion is an analysis of her character. Emily came from a well-respected wealthy family which the town people refer to as “the high and mighty Griersons” (Faulkner, 1931, p.31) and “representatives of those august names” (Faulkner, 1931, p.30). They lived in a lavish home, in an upper-class neighborhood. It is understood that they once owned slaves. Even in Emily’s old age; she had a loyal manservant named Toby. It is quite possible that Emily was raised solely by her father because her mother is never mentioned. Emily and her father were extremely close. No man was ever good enough for his precious daughter; he had driven away any man interested in his Emily. In fact, the picture of “Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door” (Faulkner, 1931, p.32) would forever be etched in the townspeople’s mind. It is apparent that mental illness runs in the family as the townspeople reflect “…old lady Wyatt, her great-aunt, had gone completely crazy at last” and “with insanity in the family” (Faulkner, 1931, p. 32). This is a foreshadowing of what is to later become of Miss Emily. Emily begins to show signs of mental instability when her father dies. For three days she goes about her business as usual and tells everyone that her father is not dead. Finally the police are called and Emily breaks down and comes to term with her father’s death. Now, except for Toby, Emily is left alone in the home. Strangely, even death, her father has control over Emily; he has left her with nothing but the house in his will. However, Emily is so well...
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