William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" Character Analysis

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In William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” the main character Emily Grierson is a woman completely isolated from her town. She has grown up her whole life in the same house, with the same butler, and primarily the company of only her father. In the eyes of the townspeople she is depicted as a “fallen monument” (526). She is a lonely woman who has fallen privy to her father’s and “crazy” relative’s skewed perceptions of society. For reasons anonymous to me, her father had driven away all the available young men in the town until the day he died. One sign Emily is crazy is when she denies her father’s death for three days when the ladies of the town call on her to offer their condolences.

Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did this for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body (529). Emily’s reaction to her father’s death suggests she is not rational.

Another hint that suggests Emily Grierson might be going insane is her social behavior. After her father’s death, she did not associate with anyone in the town except her manservant and, on rare occasions, her distance relatives. Eventually she starts dating a Homer Barron, a “Yankee man” in town on business. Emily and Homer’s relationship came as a shock to the ladies of the town, even a disgrace. After all, Homer did not measure up to the “Grierson” standards. Emily’s relationship with Homer becomes her obsession. After some time, Emily realizes Homer will not marry her. In the end, the thought of her being alone causes her to kill him. Emily kept his body in a bedroom for a long time so she could keep him for herself until her death. It is obvious she had gone mad.
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