A Rose for Emily: Literary Analysis

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William Faulkner’s
“A Rose for Emily”
Literary Analysis

In William Faulkner’s story “A Rose for Emily” his main character Miss Emily Grierson’s deranged behavior leaves the reader questioning her mental status. Emily comes from a family with high expectations of her a sort of “hereditary obligation” (30). Emily has been mentally manipulated by her as so indicated in the line of the story “we did not say she was crazy then we believed she had to do that we remember all the young men her father had driven away” (32). There is already proof of mental illness in the family “remembering how old lady Wyatt, her great aunt, had gone completely crazy last” (32). The first indication the narrator gives us of Miss Emily’s illness is when Emily’s father passes away and the ladies of the town go to her home to offer their condolences. Emily opens her door dressed as usual “with no trace of grief on her face” (30). She tells them that her father wasn’t dead, for three days she did this. When they were about to resort to law is when she finally broke down and they quickly buried her father. When Emily refuses for three days to part with her father’s corpse a neighbor woman complained to the mayor, Judge Stevens, about the odor coming from Miss Grierson’s property. The following day there were more complaints in regard to the strong odor. That evening a meeting was called “Send word to her to have the place cleaned up. Give her time to do it in, and if she don’t….” (31) To which the judge responds “will you accuse a lady of smelling bad?” (31). The following evening four men went to Miss Emily’s home, broke open the cellar door and sprinkled lime around the home to eliminate the odor. Another clear indication of Miss Emily’s mental instability occurs when members of the Board of Aldermen visit Miss Emily in an attempt to collect taxes. “She looked bloated, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a...
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