A Rose for Emily - Miss Emily Grierson Character Analysis

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Miss Emily Grierson
Character Analysis
Miss Emily is an old-school southern belle trapped in a society bent on forcing her to stay in her role. She clings to the old ways even as she tries to break free. When she's not even forty, she's on a road that involves dying alone in a seemingly haunted house. At thirty-something she is already a murderer, which only adds to her outcast status.

Miss Emily is a truly tragic figure, but one who we only see from the outside. Granted, the townspeople who tell her story know her better than we do, but not really by much. This is why Emily is called "impervious." We can't quite penetrate her or completely understand her. But, perhaps there is a little Emily in all of us. In the spirit of finding the human being behind the mask, lets zero in on a few aspects of Emily, the person.

Daughter and Woman

As far as we know, Emily is an only child. The story doesn't mention any siblings. It also doesn't mention her mother. It strikes us as odd that the narrator doesn't say anything about her mother at all. We can't really think of a reasonable explanation for this, other than that the narrator wants to emphasize just how much Emily was her father's daughter, and just how alone she was with him when he was alive. From all evidence, he controlled her completely until his death, and even continued to control her from beyond the grave. By separating her so severely from the rest of the town when he was alive, going as far as to make sure she didn't have any lovers or a husband, he set her up for a way of life that was impossible for her to escape, until her death.

We might think of her as weak, or as unwilling to take a stand against her father in life. This assessment is kind of like blaming the victim though. The bare sketch we have of her father shows a man who was unusually controlling, domineering, and perhaps capable of deep cruelty, even toward his only daughter. This theory also disguises her behavior after his death,

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