A Rose for Emily

Essay by sgdragonslayerUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2004

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A Rose for Emily

In "A Rose for Emily," Miss Emily Grierson, a stubborn old woman who lives in seclusion from the people in her southern town, dies. The entire town goes to her funeral, mostly out of curiosity. The narrator, perhaps a resident of the community, gives insight into Emily's life. Controlled by her father, Emily leads a sheltered life. In the aftermath of his death, which she refuses to recognize, she meets Homer Barron and falls in love with him. When Homer tries to leave her, she poisons him and keeps his body in her bed, even going so far as to lie next to his decomposing body. Emily's murderous act, not discovered until she dies, is moving, but not surprising to the townspeople.

Hopelessly caught in her old southern traditions, Emily refuses to admit payment of her taxes or even allow a mailbox and numbers on her house.

No one questions her purchasing of arsenic or Homer's subsequent disappearance. The smell that emanates from her house, covered with lye by the townspeople, seems almost as if they do not want to acknowledge that Miss Emily could be capable of any wrongdoing. Belonging to a privileged family, she demands, and consequently receives, high respect from the town's citizens.

Emily's stubborn nature is prevailing throughout the story. Her obstinacy contributes to Emily's failure to change or accept change in her life. By not allowing anyone to get close to her, Emily does not have to face judgment or the changes going on around her. Emily's unwillingness to allow change into her life proves her to be her own greatest enemy.