A Rose for Emily: Memorable Short Story

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Yi An Pan

Mr. Timothy Johnson


24 October 2007

In William Faulkner’s memorable short story, “A Rose For Emily”, the main character, Emily Grierson, is very complex and not easily forgotten. In order to fully grasp and comprehend her character traits, we also have to take into consideration her way of life and other external factors that contributed to her character. First and foremost, she embodies the pre-war tradition of the South and this makes her very averse to change. Miss Emily is also a possessive and insecure person who becomes a recluse in the later years of her life, and throughout the development of the story, she is presented to us as a character who is slightly insane. In addition, due to the way she has been brought up, she is a very arrogant woman with a great amount of dignity.

In the story, Emily strikes the reader as a traditionalist who despises change. Her aversion to change is one of her key character traits and is also the main theme of the story. She is a good representative of the people from the ‘Old South’, who were firmly rooted to their old values and beliefs and were not keen on change. For example, “When the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refuses to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them” (134). She simply refuses to accept the fact that society is changing and modernizing; she prefers the old ways and sticks to tradition resolutely. In the story, Faulkner also says that when Miss Emily was alive, “[she] had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (130).

Emily Grierson is also a very stubborn woman. Her obdurateness can be seen when she refuses to accept the fact that her father is dead and keeps his dead body in the house for three days. When her father died, “[she] met them at the door, dressed as usual with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not...
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