Analysis of William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily

Essay by AmyMBryant1985 February 2005

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In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" Faulkner creates a character in Emily Grierson that is very dynamic. She is a strong woman with a great sense of tradition but at the same time she suffers from a very skewed perception of the world. While her seeming insanity drivers her to murder it also seems to be balanced by her character and her strong inner sense of pride, both in herself and in her family.

Throughout most of this story Emily Grierson gives us the sense of strength. She shows strength when she rebuffs the men who come to collect her taxes, even though her source of proof has been dead for several years. She seems to show strength even when the men are creeping around her house putting down lime to block out the smell. But this strength that she shows is merely a front. It is merely a cover to hide her inner insecurities and doubts about herself.

What Emily Grierson shows on the outside is a front to protect her from the world as she sees it has changed.

Another thing that strongly shows in Emily Grierson's character is her deep respect, and sometimes even reliance, on the past and her ancestry. Emily Grierson comes from an "old style" southern family. While most of the town changes she does not. She relies on the past to dictate how she should act. In the situation where she is involved with Homer Barron, the man working for the city, she seemingly tries to persuade him to stay with her. She acts with him as she would have in days gone by. But this is another situation where her underlying mental problems intercede and she goes to far to protect herself, killing Homer with arsenic then sleeping with...