Isolation and Emily Grierson: A Deadly Combination

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 1993

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William Faulkner, one of the most famed writers of our times, explores in his writing the themes of alienation and isolation. He interweaves these themes with his female characters. In A Rose for Emily, Miss Emily Grierson is a woman who is alienated and lives in isolation from the people in her town. The theme of isolation is the focal point of the story, since it is what drove her to her madness.

Faulkner's theme of alienation comes up many times in his writing. In the book The Major Years, Melvin Backman states that Faulkner was reaching for a more decent life and more decent people in the midst of evil. He was reaching for love, innocence, simplicity, and strength, but he also knew that these things were being hidden by reality. 'With Faulkner, as with all men, the personal condition underlay and shaped his view of the human condition' (Backman, p.183).

The critic goes on to note that men in Faulkner's works tend to undermine women and their roles in society. Women are oppressed and are usually controlled by men. The women try to fight the men in their society and are trying to find a way to escape from their grasps. They are hesitant to stand up to the men and instead they tend to hide away. Backman notes that, 'The will to confront reality seems to be losing out to the need to escape'(p.184).

Miss Emily is a woman who had the whole town wondering what she was doing, but did not allow anyone the pleasure of finding out. Once the men that she cared about in life deserted her, either by death or by simply leaving her, she hid out and did not allow anyone to get close to her. Miss Emily was indeed afraid to...