Psychoterapeutic Process: Grief

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Psychotherapeutic Process: Grief

William Faulkner’s persona in “A Rose for Emily” speaks of the dangers of psychological issues; psychological issues that affect every aspect of life for Emily Grierson. In all actuality, Emily Grierson suffers from anxiety, grief, and psychotic symptoms- this prognosis is supported by Miss Emily Grierson’s sleeping with Homer Baron, a corpse. The theme, or central message, in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” is that people suffer from psychological and psychotic issues but some go undiagnosed and untreated.

According to the narrator in one of the important quotes from "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner the townspeople “did not say she was crazy” at first (Faulkner), and of course, she was never evaluated, diagnosed, or treated by a mental health professional. Yet by the story’s conclusion, the reader can go back through the narrative and identify many episodes in which Miss Emily’s character and behavior hinted at the possibility of a mental illness, even if the town wanted to deny this fact and leave her intact as a social idol. In fact, this information could be used to support the claim that Miss Emily suffered from schizophrenia as defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV criteria (American Psychiatric Association 159). It is reasonable to propose that Miss Emily developed this mental illness as a response to the demanding conditions in which she was living as a Southern woman from an aristocratic family. If one agrees that Miss Emily was schizophrenic, then naturally one might want to understand the influences that precipitated her illness. Kinney has argued that Miss Emily’s delusions, especially about her father’s death, develop as a defense mechanism, for the death of her father represents “the death of the old order and of herself as well” (94). John Staton adds that “Having been consumed by her father [figuratively], Emily in turn feeds off Homer….She has taken into herself the violence...
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