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A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

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Madeline Moro

Professor Bradley

College Writing II 1125

4 March 2016

Analysis of Miss Emily

Without love and affection from other human beings, life would be desolate and lonely. This is exemplified by the actions of Miss Emily from “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. Miss Emily portrays her stubbornness, pride, and loneliness throughout the short story. These traits are especially depicted when her father dies, the townspeople attempt to make her pay taxes, she tries to buy arsenic, and Homer endeavors to leave her.

When Miss Emily’s father dies, she displays how stubborn she can be, but there were traces of loneliness within her demeanor and actions. After her father’s death, ladies from the town came to offer their condolences, and she replied by saying that her father was not dead. She denied his death for three days until “ they were about to resort to the law and force, she broke down and they buried her father quickly” (84). Miss Emily unwillingness to accept that her father was dead shows a great amount of loneliness. She does not want to let go of him even in death. This loneliness and desperation for human contact makes her pretend that he is still alive. Miss Emily’s father was one of the causes of her loneliness. The author utilizes an image of Miss Emily’s father that illustrates his complete control over her life: “...her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door”(84). This image is very symbolic of the type of relationship Miss Emily and her father had. The horsewhip most likely symbolizes his control over her, and the way he stands over her is both protective and overbearing at the same time. He is also standing in front of her, which prevents anyone from going near her. It is only the two of them in the doorway, separated from everyone else. She misses him a long time after his death, as seen by the portrait of him that hangs on a “tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace” (82). She couldn’t keep his body, but any remembrance of her father is kept in a place of honor because he was the only human contact she had.

Miss Emily refuses to pay taxes time and time again throughout the short story. This demonstrates one of her stronger character traits, which is stubbornness. The older generation took care of Miss Emily, but as she grew older, the newer generation took power. The newer generation did not share the same sense of duty or tradition that kept the older generation taking care of Miss Emily. The new mayor and Board of Aldermen send many notices, and she doesn’t respond to any of them. Finally they go visit her at her home and her response to them requesting that she pay taxes was: “ ‘I received a paper, yes. Perhaps he considers



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