Every Rose Has a Thorn
Have you ever known someone who was just so odd the whole town gossiped about them? In William Faulkner’s short story A Rose for Emily, he characterizes Miss Emily Grierson to be this very way. She always kept the eyes and ears of the town busy.
Miss Emily was known to be the most dependent, stubborn, isolationist in the town of Jefferson. Miss Emily was viewed to be very dependent on the people in her life. When she was young she was kept away from young boys, ultimately forcing her to depend on her father. “Emily… in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground” (308). This line creates an image for the reader showing that her father kept suitors away from her, teaching her not to rely on others. We see her father had chased these men away again when the town people reminisce on Miss Emily’s existence.
As the town people look back on Emily’s life they mentioned, “we remembered all the young men her father had driven away,” indicating that her father intended for her to stay dependent on him (309). The fact that Emily’s father protected her like he did made her attached and dependent on him. After Emily’s father had passed she still continues to rely on him. Shortly after his passing, Miss Emily receives a visit from Colonel Sartoris claiming to her he has “Remitted her taxes” (305). By doing this, Faulkner shows that Emily still depends on her father for taxes. Longing for her youth, Emily got “her hair cut short, making her look like a girl” shortly after her father had passed away (309).
Because Emily was so dependent on her dad, she felt she should not have to pay her taxes as well as cut her hair off to make her feel like she was a child with her father again. These instances prove that Emily was dependent and incapable of taking care of herself. Not only was Miss Emily Grierson dependent on her father, but was also stubborn when it came to his death. “Her father was not dead,” she told them (308). She refused to believe the fact that her father was dead.
“She told them that for three days” (308). The fact that Emily was so stubborn she refused to tell anyone her own father was dead proves the author intended for this character to be stubborn. Another instance Miss Emily is proven to be stubborn is when she refuses to pay her taxes. When Emily’s taxes were sent, the tax was “enclosed, without comment” (305). Soon after, she is received a visit from the city aldermen just to tell them she has “no taxes in Jefferson” (306).
She’s so stubborn she then suggested one of them could “gain access to the city records” to “satisfy” themselves (306). Faulkner proves her to be stubborn by the way Miss Emily refused to pay her taxes. William Faulkner also proves Miss Emily to be an isolationist. “After her father’s death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all” (307). After Emily had lost all she cared about, she isolated herself from the rest of the world.
She eventually became ill and the town’s people claimed, “we did not even know she was sick” (313). Not only did she rarely come out of her house, but over time she never left her squarish fame house. Also, when the new mayor wanted to meet with her about taxes, she wrote back “she no longer went out at all” (305). Mr. Faulkner creates Emily to be this isolationist she appears to be by having her never leave her house. Miss Emily Grierson was characterized as a dependent, stubborn, and isolated little lady.
She relied mostly on the men in her life, refused to do what she did not care for, and isolated herself from the outside world when she had no one left. Works Cited Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” American Literature. 304-315.