A Rose for Emily: Emily Grierson

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Debra Arnold
January 14, 2011
Emily Grierson
“A Rose for Emily” is a horror story by Faulkner. Emily Grierson, whose life story is told by an anonymous narrator, who represents the attitudes and ideas of the community. When suppressed by her father until his death, she takes up with a Northern laborer, Homer Barron. When she is faced with desertion from Homer, she turns to murdering him by arsenic. It was later discovered after Emily’s death that Homer’s rotting corpse was in the upstairs bedroom for nearly forty years and lying on the pillow next to him was an iron gray hair considered to be Emily’s. By examining Emily’s relationship with her father, her place in the community, and her problem with distinguishing the present from the past, a lot is revealed about the character of Miss Emily in the story. The Grierson family had a streak of general insanity along with an insane pride. Miss Emily’s father, a selfish and dominating man, thought that none of the young men who came courting her were good enough for their name. So he discouraged them. When he finally died, Emily was still unmarried and with nothing more than a house. Homer, Emily’s suitor, with his strong masculine presence and whip-welding skills are an interesting resemblance to Emily’s domineering father. We see Emily’s crime as a final attempt to keep a father figure from deserting her. The tragedy in the story was shown in Emily’s inability to escape the influence of her father.

Miss Emily’s relationship to the small town was of great significance in the story. Everyone had looked up the Grierson’s in the small town of Jefferson, Mississippi. The Griersons’ held their heads high which some of the townspeople felt too high. The feelings of the community towards Miss Emily are very complicated. In the community’s eyes, her story is no more than a case history. Miss Emily is denied normal participation in the life of the community because she represents a...
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