A Rose for Emily Literary Analysis

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Michaela Ybarra
Mr. Winter
English 1302-052
26 February 2013
Fraudulent Identities
A dramatic heroine and a supercilious community make up the short story ‘A Rose for Emily’. The tragic heroine, Emily Grierson, is a peculiar character in William Faulkner’s proclaimed short story. Published in 1930, this southern gothic tale is “the story of Emily’s life as a lonely and impoverished woman left penniless by her father, who drove away suitors from his overprotected daughter” (A Rose, 72). Although it is obvious in the story that Emily is a broken woman, there are different ways the people of Jefferson envision her. The townspeople give Emily the opportunity to act as she pleases but then judge her based on the principles they believe she should follow (Du 23). Then Emily is corrected and told that she is wrong and after this happens time and time again, Emily eventually directs her actions and beliefs more parallel to the towns (Du 23). Since Emily does not have a voice of her own, her character can be seen through the judgment of the townspeople. In ‘A Rose for Emily’ it can be inferred that Emily is shaped by her aristocratic family name, dehumanization of a new generation, and given title as a “fallen monument”(Faulkner, I).

Emily Grierson is a member of an important southern aristocrat family. Therefore, Emily is a lady and the townspeople believe she is “a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town…” (Faulkner I). Terry Heller explains that ‘in order to account for and deal with Emily, the people constantly resort to categorization” (Heller, 91). With Emily left poor and fatherless Colonel Sartoris remits Emily’s taxes to maintain Emily’s state of affairs and “to avoid embarrassing Emily” (Heller 91; Mosby 3). It is clear that Emily is a lady and she is granted leniency on certain matters. The significance of Emily’s family name is also noticed when the Board of Alderman arrived at Emily’s house to collect her taxes...
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