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Nostalgia Is Great Essay

1205 words - 5 pages

In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily” the main character, Emily Grierson, was perceived as bizarre by the townspeople. Throughout her life, she was unwilling to adapt to the changes occurring in the community, such as paying new taxes and admitting the death of her father after keeping him in her home for three days. Furthermore, she murdered her love interest Homer, and also kept his body in her house for several years. This illustrates her severe irrationality and fear of abandonment. As she grew older, Emily began to distance herself from society, and gradually the public reciprocated. Her overbearing father controlling her life and pushing everyone away ultimately contributed to the acceleration of her mental instability and sense of control which led to Emily’s gradual isolation from society.
Emily’s peculiar personality and aura, mainly her sense of control and unwavering independence that she developed from her father, frightened other civilians. When certain women asked the Baptist minister to go to Emily’s house to discuss her marriage with Homer, readers can gather he was very afraid, “He would never divulge what happened during that interview, but he refused to go back again” (Faulkner, 378). Furthermore, when she went to purchase poison from store, she was asked by the druggist to clarify its purpose, but she refused, “Miss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic and wrapped it up.” (Faulkner, 377). In both instances she was asserting her independence and sense of control. She learned this from her father when he tried to control her, as she was also trying to control society. Since Emily’s sense of control was frightening, people did not want to be around her. It is evident that everyone in the town talked about her frequently and observed her, “Daily, monthly, yearly, we watched the Negro grow grayer and more stooped” (Faulkner, 379). What is viewed by one person is viewed by everyone in the community.

Although she could not control the changing times of the town around her and was reluctant to adapt to new laws (such as paying taxes), she was capable of controlling Homer after she murdered him. Though there were rumors that she purchased the poison to kill herself, the reader could begin to realize that such an action would not suit her character. By committing suicide this would suggest that Emily would have lost faith in herself and ultimately surrendered her existence, as the afterlife is also beyond one’s control. In murdering Homer, she could assert her independence by controlling his life. Emily did not murder Homer out of contempt; had that occurred, she would have likely disposed of the body afterwards. Emily valued Homer significantly, because he was one of the few who visited her and demonstrated concern for her, “We began to see him and Miss Emily on Sunday afternoons driving in the yellow wheeled buggy…”...

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