A Rose for Emily: Sheltered Life

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The story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is about the life of a woman who lived a very sheltered life. When we examine Emily Grierson’s life in the story, it is evident that she had few acquaintances in her town. Her family was constantly criticized and being watched to see what would happen next. A key theme noted in the story is isolation. From the isolation in Miss Emily’s life comes hereditary mental illness. This isolation began from her father’s influence, social status, and traditions that surround her.

One area that causes Miss Emily’s isolation is her father and their relationship. He had some form of high power in the town in which they lived and used that power. Mr. Grierson was also overbearing in Emily’s life. When he died, Emily kept his body for three days. That in itself is not normal or healthy and shows early signs of mental illness. The story says “she would have to cling to that which had robbed her.” In this one can conclude that in whatever area in her life held potential, he stole from her.

For a woman to wait years after her father’s passing before starting a relationship shows it was taking her a while to truly be free from the grip her father had on her life. She was locked away from the world because she felt she had no other choice. She still relied on her father after his passing when it came time to pay taxes. With this to fall back on, Miss Emily was giving herself another opportunity not to leave her home.

Another reason behind Emily’s isolation was that of her social status. Her family had a history of having money and a high-end reputation. Certain things were expected of her and it is evident in the story. With these expectations, she could not live a “normal” life. The house she lives in, the black servant, even her occupation of an art teacher show she lived an upper class lifestyle. This caused her to be isolated because she felt that she had no one in which to relate. She was constantly being judged and watched...
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