A Rose for Emily
The short story begins by telling the end of it; the story begins with the funeral of the aristocratic Miss Emily Grierson during the time period of the civil war. The funeral turnout so big, the whole town of Jefferson attended. The town felt responsible for Miss Emily because they felt that she was a “tradition, a duty and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (287). “The men of the town respected Miss Grierson and viewed her as a fallen monument” (287), whereas the women of the town haven’t been in the house for years and was viewed by the narrator to have attended the funeral just to get a peek of the inside of Emily’s home to see how she lived. The house sits on a street that was once the town’s most prestigious areas. With all the other homes replaced with garages and cotton gins Miss Grierson’s house was the last one standing. The house was described as “a big, squarrish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street” (287). Now, time has taken toll, and neglect of the maintenance has distorted its once beautiful structure. The main conflict in the story was Emily facing reality, she didn’t know how to let go of her past “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves” (288). Agitated by her tactics, the town is getting tired of taking care of her, “So the next day, “She will kill herself”; and we said it would be the best thing” (291). The townspeople think she is stuck up and arrogant because she thinks that everything revolves around her. Isolation from the society caused her to become depressed, unhappy and crazy, leading up to her destroying Homer. Emily was a heavy set woman “She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water and of that pallid hue” (288). She was an old, secretive woman, who was devastated and alone in a growing society, forcing her to stay in her role. Emily sunk into a deep mental depression and limited others to see her true identity by remaining hidden, “When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray” (292). She lived most of her life in isolation and was intimidated by her controlling father. When Miss Emily was alive, the townspeople considered her as a financial obligation because she never paid taxes. She hadn’t paid in years, and she wasn’t forced to pay “See Colonel Sartoris, I have no taxes in Jefferson” (288). Her nonpayment dated back to 1894 when the mayor of the town, Mayor Colonel Sartoris, told the story that her father loaned the town money and as payment back to her father they allowed her not to pay taxes. Her father died and left Miss Emily with no money to live off of and the inheritance of a decaying house. As time passed and generations came and went, the arrangement became a discontent with the people so they made many attempts to collect the long time debt but as adamant as they were, so was Emily. She would not respond to their efforts. Finally after numerous failed notifications, the town’s board decided to make a trip to her house hoping to get an agreement to satisfy the debt. Emily hadn’t had visitors in years, but greeted by her old house servant, the board was permitted to enter into the damp stenched home and waited in the room until Miss Grierson was summoned. When Emily enters; small, round and dressed in black, not nearly as appealing as she was once described, the visitors affirmed their purpose. They requested compensation for her taxes, but Emily’s harsh and bold demanded that she didn’t have taxes and instructed Tobe, her house servant, to escort them out, “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Tobe!” The Negro appeared. “Show these gentlemen out.” (288). Emily always wanted...
Cited: SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on A Rose for Emily.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 14 Mar. 2013
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Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” In The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. 2160-2166. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003.
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