«Character of Emily» Essay Sample

Character of Emily

"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner is a short story set in Jefferson, a fictional town in Mississippi. The story opens with the account of Emily Grierson's funeral depicted as a big event simply because Emily, an elderly spinster, became an institution. As a result, her death arouses great curiosity about her lonely and secluded life in Jefferson. The woman always remained lonely despite people's expectations that she would get married one day as her father, who had controlled her life, died. However, this did not happen because she became completely estranged from the outside world. Surprisingly, Emily seemed to open her heart to Homer, a contractor who later disappeared in Jefferson. While the author portrays Emily as a character who was loved and hated in equal measure, the analysis of her life reveals her as a character who nagged people in town.

Generally, Emily's reclusive character drives locals to attend her funeral and see what remains of her house after a long time of being locked to outsiders. Precisely, no one has seen the inside of her house for about 15 years apart from an old servant, gardener, and cook (Faulkner 68). Emily led a secluded and loveless life due to her father's influence. He practically chased Emily's admirers who did not correspond to his social status. Consequently, she remained single throughout her life. Despite her father's death, Emily neither became amiable nor welcomed anyone in her house. Whoever approached her house was treated indifferently, for example, the scene when town council members visited Emily to remind her to pay taxes.

Similarly, Emily's adamant nature was subject to gossip. After her father's death, Emily insisted that he was still alive and even resisted doctors' demands to give the body for burial. Her behavior astonished people, and she only gave the body when they decided to ask the authority to intervene. Likewise, Emily refused to give explanations to the pharmacist as to why she wanted to buy poison (Balcarcel). In the end, she bought arsenic leaving people guessing why she needed it. Furthermore, she did not obey the federal law as she refused to pay taxes. However, Emily's main motive behind her decision to violate the law is revealed after her death.

Moreover, Emily had a necrophilous nature. Initially, she refused to give her father's body for burial. Emily's secret was that her father had controlled her life for a long time; therefore, she felt it was time for her to control him since he was unresponsive (Faulkner 118). She did the same to Homer, her potential lover. As revealed in the last scene, after her burial the curiosity of people makes them open the door to Emily's bedroom. Surprisingly, they find the decomposed body of Homer on the bed. In addition, they discover Emily’s gray hair on the pillow next to the body, which indicates that she slept there not so long time ago. It is revealed that Emily killed Homer in order to exercise total control over him.

In conclusion, though Emily led a lonely life, locals should not have discriminated against her. Their speculations about her nature only worsened her loneliness. Taking into account the fact that her mother is not mentioned in the story, Emily must have suffered much while living with her father, a man who controlled and limited her access to the outside world. Probably, her bad attitude towards other people was shaped by her father. As a result, she was unable to have harmonious relationships with men since she felt the urge to totally take control of them, even if it meant that they should die to remain submissive. Therefore, by gossiping Emily, people increased her agony.

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