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Published: 13-12-2019

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The Long Life Story of Emily Grierson in A Rose for Emily, a Short Story by William Faulkner

In Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”, the narrator tells the story of Emily Grierson, a lady who lived an incredibly lengthy life and was known to every person throughout the town. The story also tells the reader of Emily’s mental deterioration as time goes on was not known or acknowledged by the townspeople. Mental illness, specifically in the South, was masked by eccentricities and a tolerant attitude toward these who have been socially contemplate high class (Phelan 188).

The first element of this quick story describes Ms. Emily Grierson as a well-liked woman in the town, mostly simply because she had been around for so long. “When Miss Emily Grierson died our entire town went to her funeral: the men went by way of a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the females mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one had seen save an old man-servant-had seen in the final ten years” (Faulkner 299). In the story, she was tax exempt by Colonel Sartoris soon after the death of her father in the year 1894. There was no written record of this nevertheless, and the newer generation of elected officials tried to send her a notification that her taxes were due. The initial sign we see of her mental illness comes when the city authorities arrive to collect her taxes, and she repeatedly states that they need to see Colonel Sartoris, who at that time had been dead for nearly a decade. For Emily, the passage of time does not seem to matter at all as she has spent a lot of years of her life hidden away in her home.

Part two requires place approximately two years soon after Emily’s father died, and just a quick time right after she was abandoned by her would be husband. At this point in the story we see further deterioration of Emily’s mental state as she is rarely seen outdoors of her property. “After her father’s death she went out extremely little soon after her sweetheart went away, folks hardly saw her at all” (Faulkner 301). As time passes a horrible smell starts to be emitted from Emily’s house. Many of the citizens complained about it. Ultimately Judge Stevens says he refuses to accuse a lady of smelling negative, so four males snuck onto Emily’s house at evening and sprinkled lime about the home to prevent the foul odor. The reader later finds out that Emily had pretended everything was normal, as if her father hadn’t died for three days prior to she lastly allowed the body could be disposed of. The reader then realizes that if the smell wasn’t coming from her father exactly where could it be coming from? No 1 in the town thought she was getting severe mental wellness issues They believed it was her father had driven away a lot of males from her and seemed to be overprotective. “We remembered all the males her father had driven away, and we knew that with practically nothing left, she would cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (Faulkner 302).

In the course of element 3 of the story, Emily was sick for a extended time and makes a reappearance with brief hair producing her appear tragic and serene (Faulkner 302). The town had hired contractors to repair the sidewalks. Homer Barron, the foreman of the labor operation, soon became a nicely-liked man around town, as he seemed to bring laughter to everybody. Shortly following coming into town, he was noticed riding about with Miss Emily in a buggy. Absolutely everyone in the town seemed thrilled that she had identified a person to make her pleased at last. Many of the older men and women in the town recalled that no one had come to her father’s funeral and felt sorry for Emily, about what had occurred and how she had reacted to her father’s death. This additional proves that mental illness was not anything talked about in the open for the duration of this time. At the finish of this element of the story the reader finds Emily at the drug retailer for rat poison.

In component four, the folks of the town began to suspect that Emily is going to commit suicide simply because Homer Barron, was homosexual and was usually noticed drinking with younger males at the Elks club in town. The ladies of the town eventually forced a Baptist minister to get in touch with upon Emily. The residents of the town have been sure there would be a wedding now, as Emily had ordered men’s toiletries and gifts from the jeweler. Right after this, Miss Emily appears to create extreme agoraphobia the fear of leaving one’s property, and is only seen in windows, possessing grown obese and grey. The only person who came and went from the property was the servant. She continued to receive tax notices that remained unclaimed. At this point, Emily has fully lost her thoughts, “She was only sometimes noticed in the downstairs window looking by way of people” (Faulkner 305).

The final component of the story requires the reader to the opening of Emily’s property after more than ten years of only the servant getting inside. After the servant opened the residence, he was never ever seen or heard from once more. He just ran away indicating that he felt shame for what he had been hiding for all the years he had worked for Emily. He also could have left for worry of becoming blamed for the murder of Homer Barron, since as previously stated mental illness in the early 1900’s was extremely taboo, especially for a woman. The room above the stairs in Emily’s property, was a quite mysterious spot for the townsfolk as is hadn’t been opened in over forty years. The space was furnished as a bridal suite, and inside the toiletries of Homer Barron laid near a folded suit and shoes. The townspeople then identified Homer Barron’s physique lying in the bed rotted to the point exactly where he couldn’t be removed from the mattress, “The man himself lay in the bed” (Faulkner 306). Next to him, on the lately laid upon pillow was an iron gray hair. This is the final showing of Miss Emily’s illness she seems to have suffered from delusions and agoraphobia, as she spent forty years sleeping subsequent to a man that she had killed.

Soon after reading this story closely the reader comes to understand, that even though the individual events on their own do not seem to out of the ordinary, searching at the big picture with all the events in order we see the slow progression of Miss Emily towards a full mental breakdown.

Writing Method Summation


I chose this short story, simply because I felt it was the easiest for me to comprehend. I arrived at my understanding of the story right after reading it a couple of instances. I realized that the story seemed to be about the decline of Miss Emily’s mental well being. I made the points that mental illnesses and degeneration were widely ignored and feared in the early 1900’s. I revised the thesis of my essay to be a lot more definitive. I want the reader to see that mental concerns had been not always as widely accepted as they are these days. Whilst there are nevertheless difficulties with accepting them, folks seem far much more tolerant now than in the past.
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