Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 7 | Words: 1872
Reading Time: 8 Minutes

Events and Conditions in Emily’s Life That are Significant to Our Understanding of Her Character

The synopsis of a rose for Emily holds in it richness in events that form a building of character in the person of Emily. Among them is the death of Mr. Grierson. He is Emily’s father. He is an authoritative member of Jefferson. Emily does not come to terms with his and takes a less dignified life unlike the one she had when he was alive.

Colonel Sartoris omits Emily of the duty of paying tax claiming that Mr. Grierson had loaned the town and so Emily was to be relieved of tax in return, a claim that was utterly false and of which Emily agreed upon not fully aware of the serpent beneath the flower. She was not aware that it was a made up reason to trick her into acceptance of the charity. The narrator says that Miss Emily would not accept charity.

Later came the Alderman authority in Jefferson, which wanted her to pay her tax dues. She however holds firm that she owes Jefferson nothing, perhaps ignorant and innocent of the crime the colonel had tricked her into. Interestingly she declines future requests to pay taxes too.

When a deputation is sent to Miss Emily’s place we learn that for almost a decade no neighbors have been there. The room is dusty, smelly and dark and the conversation between the deputation and herself is held with everyone standing. Miss Emily coldly refers them to Colonel Sartoris who has been dead for a decade. (Campbell, Modean &Foster)

Miss Emily’s neighbors complained to Judge Stevens about a foul smell at her place. The judge however cannot act and instead a group of four guys have to go and handle the smell by pouring lime around her house, handling manually an issue that could have been handled in a more legally.

It is said that Emily’s aunt, lady Wyatt had gone insane. Emily’s father also didn’t think she had a good suitor in the men around. Also, Emily’s father upon death only left her with the old house. This portrays the Grierson family as one that was held more superiorly than it really is. This allows the people to feel sorry for her.

Miss Emily loses her father and the town ladies go to console her. There they find her in complete denial taking three days to admit her father’s death. Emily only accepts the grief after working with the doctors and preachers. They did not consider her insane whatsoever. Her father was really all she had. She falls ill and comes back a different Emily.

 Emily meets Homer Barron, a contractor, with whom she is seen spending time with. Some people think she is just putting off the belief that noble people should associate with lower ranking people as others think she is planning to get married to him. This raises the need to call her cousins which in its attempt to prevent the couple hood is in vain. Emily later purchases arsenic without explanation and homer is dead.

Homer Barron’s body is later found in Miss Emily’s house after her death. Inside the room is wedding stuff and an iron-gray strand of hair presumed to be Emily’s on a pillow next to homers head.

Significance of Past Events in the Analysis of Emily’s Character

Emily, with regards to past events, is impervious. The narrator and townspeople can only see her from the outside but do not really know that much about her. She is somehow hard to penetrate and her full understanding is difficult to find as she is always in seclusion. Emily is only children whose past events lean heavily on her becoming and somehow suppress her to be who she becomes.

Emily was under her father’s rule and no mention of her mother is found. She was her father’s daughter and was controlled by him until his death. He continued to control her even after his death. He set up for her a way of life that she found impossible to come out of.

Emily is a victim of her father. Her father is brought out as controlling and capable of cruelty to her. He denies her the opportunity to find a suitor even though she is his only daughter. She lives upon the same rule late into her life until she decides to come out and pursue her desires for love. She however is unfamiliar to this and her attempt to womanhood comes to a fatal ending. She is now haunted by two men; Homer Barron and Mr. Grierson.

 Emily is depicted as an artist. We could look at this from a positive point of view and say that perhaps she relied on her art for comfort and company. We could also say that this could have contributed to her isolative nature. This is however hopeful and has not been mentioned in such details.

When the people of the town break into Miss Emily’s room they find a strand of her hair.they are somehow surprised by this but are not surprised by Homers dead body. It could be that it was assumed over the years that he was killed since Miss Emily was still alive after buying the arsenic. The imprint of her head tells us that it is rather fresh and the hair strand a possible deliberate message from Emily. This brings her out as a woman who had been in struggle with herself.

The Conflict and Struggle of Miss Emily

Emily, in ‘A rose for Emily’, is deemed an almost antisocial person who keeps herself away from society. In so doing she manages to limit access to herself and is thus difficult for everyone to understand her; keeping her identity hidden. Emily is a mystery. She lives in her own world by her own rules by her own thoughts and own deeds. She does not and will not pay tax. She does not give a very required purpose of her purchasing arsenic and upon the existence of a foul smell in the neighborhood she dare not be approached. Emily is unconcern by the changes around her; she finds them not of her aid and refuses even the placing of a mail box on her house. Her state of self ruling takes such extremes as to take away a human beings life.

Despite all this she remains a monument, a monument of pity and irritation. She is social gravity that pulls all forces towards her, bringing gossip and speculation. A monument that later becomes a bizarre one. It becomes one that repels. Emily turns out to be a murderer. At perspective necrophilia; she seeks love in a dead Homer and sleeps next to his corpse, the need of subordinating Homer maybe a product of her own subordination to her father’s. The same is seen when Emily refuses to let go of her father and stays for three days before allowing the doctors to handle the corpse and grant Mr. Grierson a funeral. Emily knows not a way to express her desires for homer and takes away his life to have ultimate power over him. It is also seen in her reply to the authorities that she writes a reply in old fashioned manner.

Emily is in a struggle. She does not want to accept change. It is seen when the ‘next generation’ takes authority of the town. Emily does not agree to pay taxes to the authority of the town. She claims to owe them no tax and ignores their tax notices also ignoring them in future and not paying tax at all even after the death of colonel Sartoris who had relieved her of the duty. She later refuses to have a mail box placed on her door. We could say of Emily that she believes that things are best left how she has always known them. She has that belief in status quo and cannot change anything. Emily has some apparent satisfaction in things as they are.

Emily is experiencing the power of death. When Emily loses her father, Mr. Grierson, she enters a moment of grief and holds on to her father’s dead body for three days. Life takes a turn for her as she enters into what the narrator describes as dusty. Her house is dusty, a state that would have been rare in the conditions she lived in when he was alive. Her status as wealthy takes a low as she keeps herself from society. Her furnishing being described to be covered in cracked leather and her home of acrid smell. Emily does not seem to be a noblesse anymore with the only exception being the fact that she is a Grierson and of which she takes pride in. she walks with a tall neck aware of her importance as the last of the Greirsons. Death hits her hard and so she remains in the state she was before Mr. Grierson death. She is pictured as cold and almost of no humanity at all. She lives in a neglected dusty and furthermore foul smelling house and does nothing at all about the situation. She even proceeds to take the life of relatively the only person she engages in a relationship with. Emily is a psychological tragedy, her state of loneliness and isolation after losing her father with no doubt playing a role in it.

Miss Emily is also in a personal conflict with herself. She is disturbed and this is evident when a strand of her hair is found on an imprint of her head on a pillow next to Homer’s dead body; perhaps a deliberate message left by Emily before she died. This shows the presence of some struggle within her, maybe of love, pain or hurt.

She is in person to person conflict with society. Emily refuses to accept the ever changing society. She pays no taxes and has no mail box. She is irreproachable. In the same way the townspeople do not accept her in that they do not understand her and even when she tries something besides herself like having a relationship with Hommer they call a preacher and her cousins to talk her out of it.

We can say in short that Emily has been acted upon by internal and external forces. The internal forces her own struggles with herself. The external forces are her townspeople her father Mr. Grierson and Homer. These forces are the ones responsible for her overall being.

The narrator, with reference to the old men, says that the past not being a diminishing road to them but, instead, is a meadow touched by no winter, that is now divided by the narrow bottleneck of the recent decade. He implies that the old men held their thoughts and memories more dearly that they only became fresher by the day and that no events would make them less. There was, however, the impediment of the last decade of Emily’s life.

‘A rose for Emily’ is a good piece. It reminds us of the inner struggle we have. It tells us that the things around us come to influence our behind and that we ought to understand each other.

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