‘A Rose for Emily’ Character Analysis: Unraveling the Complexities

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The Sheltered Life and Attachment Issues

Emily Grierson, commonly referred to as Miss Emily, is the main character in the story A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner. Together with her father and servants, they used to live in a big beautiful house, and by how she acted, they tried to seem superior to the rest of the town. Miss Emily’s father always claimed that no suitable man in the whole town could marry her daughter, and as a result, she could not develop any relationship with a man.

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It is stated in the paper that her aunt thought “None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such” because she believed they were better than everyone else. Indeed, her life seemed to revolve around her father.

She lived a secluded life, and this is shown by the narrator’s phrases in the various parts of the story. For instance, the narrator says, “She was sick for a long time when we saw her again.” The phrase informs that Emily’s life was that of loneliness, and she never liked socializing with townsmen. After her father died, she couldn’t give him away, the town came for his body, and she wouldn’t budge. “She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body.” (Faulkner 115). This shows that she had attachment issues.

Homer: The Outsider and Attachment

Though her father was strict and always controlled her life, she was still at a loss and didn’t want to give him up just yet; even if she wasn’t showing grief, I believe that’s how she dealt with it personally. Throughout the story, her choices showed more and more that her being sheltered all her did not do her any good. She got attached easily, and that’s why when she thought she was going to lose Homer, she killed him. She didn’t know how to react to knowing/liking someone other than her father and servant. Plus, she had no help from the town; it was just a huge gossip fess. They only acted “concerned” when they wanted to get up close and personal, like after she died “The Negro met the first of the ladies at the front door and let them in, with their hushed, sibilant voices and their quick, curious glances…”. Homer is another character in the story.

He is different from Emily in the fact that he is a stranger in town, thus an outsider. The difference between the two is that Homer is a charismatic guy who always wants to socialize with everybody, and most people like hanging out with him. However, the fact that he comes from the northern part while the story is set in the south, many people do not trust him. He hangs out with Emily, and this raises questions among the townsmen, who believe that she is degrading her reputation as she is of high class. Homer, in some aspects, is viewed as a homosexual. The narrator uses phrases like, “he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks Club-that he was not a marrying man.”

The Legacy of Mr. Grierson and a Tarnished Portrait

Near the end, when he “left,” everyone just thought of poor Emily. A complete side note, Mr. Grierson is yet another character, though he is not met in the course of the story. He has played a significant role in the story, since his strictness over Emily’s life is still evidenced even after his death. He instilled fear in men who would like to date her daughter, and even after he died, no man ever approached Emily apart from Homer, who was from a different town. Mr. Grierson only said that no man in town was suitable to marry his daughter. The reader only sees “on a Tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily’s father,” which I believe had a great symbol in it for this story.

Of course, they were higher class, so they were going to have a portrait, but just like her entire life, her father is just there watching her. He messed her up mentally, and that is where 95% of her character is developed. Indeed, the story is interesting since the characters have expressed a very dark, grim tale. This story can be summed up by saying it was just the worst possible case of attachment issues and a society with nothing better to do than gossip. It was disturbing to find out that Emily had kept Homer’s corpse in her bed for many years, but it wasn’t shocking. She slept next to him and kept his clothes neatly arranged. Through the actions she bestowed, there was no hate towards Homer, just disappointment. Emily finally got a taste of what excitement and life outside her father was, so that’s the bright side of the story.

Work Cited

  • Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” Collected Stories of William Faulkner. Vintage Books, 1995.
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'A Rose for Emily' Character Analysis: Unraveling the Complexities. (2023, Jun 22). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-rose-for-emily-character-analysis-unraveling-the-complexities/