Personality Is Everything

When someone dies, people first begin to look for the cause of that particular person’s death. If they were murdered then they look for who killed them. In Miss Emily’s case though after she dies no one tries to figure out what caused her death there was almost relief when she died. In A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner characterizes Miss Emily Grierson as a stubborn, unhappy, and traditional person whose death is almost welcomed because of her terrible personality. One of Faulkner’s main characterizations of Miss Emily is that she is very stubborn and everything has to be how she wants it.

This is first shown very close to the beginning of the story when some people from town come to collect taxes and she repeatedly says “I have no taxes in Jefferson” (306 Faulkner). She continuously tells the city officials that Colonel Sartoris exempt her from taxes and that they should talk to him. She has it set in her mind that she does not in fact have any taxes in that town even times have changed and she has someone telling her that she needs to pay. Another example is in the beginning it is said that her house is “stubborn and coquettish” (304 Faulkner). A person’s house is a complete reflection of that person’s personality. For example, if someone’s house is extremely messy then they are probably either very messy or they are just overly busy.

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By watching Miss Emily’s actions and hearing all that the townspeople have to say it is very obvious that Miss Emily is not a happy person and has not been happy for a few years. The people from the town tell us “After her father’s death she went out very little” (307 Faulkner). After her father died Miss Emily Grierson probably went through a period of withdrawal because of the shock and depression of losing someone that was very close. From the townspeople’s point of view they pity Miss Emily, four times in this story they say “Poor Emily” (309 Faulkner). Their reasons for saying that is because after losing her father she had no family left with her except for a few people over in Alabama who she had not seen in a while, so she was lonely.

Then “after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all” (307 Faulkner). This shows that after losing her father she receded a little bit but when she lost Homer Barron she just never came out of her house and was only seen sitting in the window of her house occasionally. William Faulkner shows multiple instances throughout his book to show that Miss Emily is a traditional person who does not want to move on and let go. The townspeople’s thoughts are even used to describe Miss Emily as traditional when they say, “Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition” (304 Faulkner). This shows that Miss Emily is one of the elders of their town so they see all the stuff that she does as traditional. She is especially shown to be traditional when they created a town postal service and they say, “Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it” (313 Faulkner).

Miss Emily is so old school that she does not even want them bringing her her mail she thinks that she should have to go to the post office to get it. In William Faulkner’s book A Rose For Emily, Miss Emily is a person who does not have a great personality and because of that not many people are sad when she dies because they do not see it as a loss to the community. Each one of the characteristics that Faulkner gives Miss Emily Grierson is there to support what she does in the story and why she does what she does.