Emily's Emotions

Emotions can have a positive or negative effect on people. Many factors influence emotions, the biggest one being the death of loved ones. In the short story “A Rose For Emily”, Emily Grierson experiences two major losses in her life and enters a world of turmoil. Because of these deaths, Miss Emily Grierson becomes isolated, sick, and defiant. During the short story, Miss Emily Grierson becomes isolated. She rarely ever leaves the house or interacts with others.

“After her father’s death she went out very little, and a short time after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all” (84-85). Most of the time during the grieving process when people lose loved ones, they rarely want to interact with anyone or go anywhere. This was the case with Miss Emily, who for a very long time, went through this process and isolated herself from the townspeople. Faulkner uses the observations of the townspeople to emphasize how Miss Emily has isolated herself from everyone. Miss Emily was also mentally sick. When her father and Homer Barron, her sweetheart, dies, she keeps their corpses for days in her house.

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When her father dies, she tells everyone that her “father is not dead” and does this “for three days” until finally the townspeople convince her to release the body for burial. (142-143). Jilted by her fiance and in a desperate attempt to keep him, Miss Emily poisons Homer and she keeps his body in the house for many years until the townspeople discover it; it’s obvious that it’s been there for a long time from the decaying and rotting flesh. The “indentation of the head” and the “long-strand of iron-gray hair” seen on the pillow indicates Miss Emily has been lying with the body (340-343). Usually, sick or sadistic people do insane things. Miss Emily demonstrated how sick and sadistic she is and how her emotional state affected the people closest to her.

Lastly, Miss Emily was defiant. Usually, defiant people resist change or doing anything that they don’t want to do. When Miss Emily’s father died, she is “remitted of her taxes” (22). However, this is not the case when the new generation arrived. They visit Miss Emily’s house and try to force her to pay taxes. Miss Emily repeatedly says, “I have no taxes in Jefferson” (65-79).

Faulkner uses her words and her actions to highlight her defiant attitude and her unwillingness to change. Miss Emily’s actions throughout this story magnify the effect of how out-of-control emotions can impact a person’s life. Miss Emily, of course, suffered two major losses of people that were very close to her. Trying to overcome the grieving process, she let her emotions get the best of her resulting in a tragic outcome. Because of her gruesome past, she became isolated, sick, and defiant.