"Mirror, Mirror on the wall, [She's the craziest] of them all"
When thinking of a murderers all around the world, one would think of all different types of people; but one would never dare to think that a petite, secluded woman like Miss Emily would be capable of polishing off anyone. In the short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, not only the town, but also the reader decides whether or not Miss Emily Grierson is guilty or not. Throughout the story, Faulkner implies that Miss Emily is not just a stubborn and a misunderstood person but also insane. One would not dare to go against Miss Emily because of her stubbornness. In the story, the townspeople feel it is not fair for Miss Emily to be the only one emitted from her taxes, so after sending her many “tax notices” they decide to visit her and ask her to pay her taxes just like the others. Little do the townspeople know about how stubborn Miss Emily can be when she does not want to do something (Faulkner, 306).
When they ask her about the taxes, Miss Emily states in a calm but stern voice, “I have no taxes in Jefferson” (Faulkner, 306). This shocks the townspeople! Faulkner shows that Emily was not ready for change and did not care for it. Another incident is when she goes to visit the drug store and demands arsenic. When the druggist starts to ask questions about her use for it, she shuts him up quickly by restating, “[She] wants some poison” (Faulkner, 310). The man decides not to go against her and gives her poison and on the bottle he scribbles “For Rats”(Faulkner, 311). Faulkner conveys that Emily is not one to get run over by other people; she continues to get her way.
Misunderstood could be used to describe Miss Emily also. For instance, when her father passes away she refuses to believe that he is actually gone. When the women of the town knock on her door to offer their condolences, she opens the door and acts in denial and claims, “her father was not dead” (Faulkner, 308). Because Miss Emily depends on her father so much when he passes she refuses to accept it. Miss Emily is used to someone controlling her life; now that her father is dead she does not know what is going to happen to her or how she will survive.
She is now left alone in the world, so she does the unthinkable she goes out for the kill. Faulkner attests that because of her past she makes decisions that showboat her as insane. Faulkner conveys that people shouldn’t be judged just because of their actions. Every reader should agree that Miss Emily is truly insane. Miss Emily murders Homer because he was not ready for commitment.
In the end Homer lies in the bed with a “profound and fleshless grin” and his body is in the form of an embrace (Faulkner, 315). But the most utterly disturbing image is when they find an indentation of a head on the pillow beside him and on the pillow lays a “long strand of iron-gray hair” (Faulkner, 315). Through Miss Emily, Faulkner demonstrates that the relationship between she and her father was not healthy at all and therefore resulted in an unhealthy relationship between she and Homer Barron. Miss Emily’s personality cannot be characterized as just one word because of the changes she encounters throughout the story. She is first portrayed as stubborn, but through the actions and incidents of the short story, Faulkner plays on the emotions of the reader by casting doubt of whether or not it was a punishable crime. But in the end, the reader analyzes Miss Emily as insane.
Faulkner exemplifies Miss Emily as a person who is thought to be one thing but in the end she is another because after all you never judge a book by its cover.