The main character in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily, Miss Emily Grierson, was the daughter of a proud, privileged white family. She shared their big decorated house with her father and servants. Emily's family considered itself superior to other inhabitants of the town (Zhang 20). Therefore, he did not consider any of the young boys in the town a worthy suitor to his daughter. Upon the death of Mr. Grierson, her daughter was unable to build any solid relationship with anyone else, keeping all to herself. The omnipresent nature of Emily's father in her life shows how tradition and society push her into introversion, loneliness, and conservativeness.
Emily's reclusive life stems from her arrogance. Her upbringing, as an aristocrat, inculcated in her the perception that she was better than all the young people within the neighborhood, making her cold and arrogant to them. Before the death of her father, there was a sort of a rule book which Emily had to follow strictly. Anything she did outside expectation would be stopped in time. She did not have a boyfriend as a young girl, and there was a general belief among the townspeople that, "the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were" (Faulkner 257). As a result, Emily did not consider any of the young men worthy of her, and the townspeople discount speculation linking her to Homer Barron, a "day laborer."
For the most of her adult life, Emily was a lonely woman whom the townspeople were always interested in knowing her affairs. When she died, the entire town attended her funeral, with the women particularly interested in seeing "the inside of her house" (Faulkner 253). Emily had a close relationship with only two men in her life. First, was her father, the man who deprived her of every healthy human experience, leaving her to depend on him wholly. Upon his father's death, she became lonely. As an indicator for his emptiness, when her father died, she insisted that "her father was not dead" (Faulkner 258). She even kept his corpse. The second man was Homer Barron. He was the direct opposite of her, an outgoing person, always at the center of laughter (Zhang 20). He refuses to join Emily in marriage, and she resorts to killing him.
As a slave to traditions and social order, which her father ensured were preserved to his death, she ended up as a conservative person, who is fearful to attract anybody closer to her. First, her father tries all he can to ensure that Emily is deprived of what would make her interact with and think like the rest of the townspeople. This overprotection denies her the opportunity to have a boyfriend and develop a close relationship with other people. When her father dies, she tries to cross the line and build a relationship with Homer Baron, an ordinary worker. However, the difference in their expectations and Emily's perceived dominance leads to her killing her. In the end, she dies an old lady who succeeds in maintaining the aristocratic image built by her family.
In conclusion, Miss Emily, the main character in the story, does not live an independent life. She is strapped in the ways of her family. Her father instiled in her the belief that she was superior to the rest of the townspeople. The arrogance attached to this label meant that she could not attract suitors, and the closest she comes to marriage is her relationship with Homer, which ends tragically.
Faulkner, William. A rose for Emily. Paderborn, De: Verlag F. Schoningh, 1958.
Zhang, Yuying. "A Rose Will Never Bloom: Doomed Tragedy of Miss Emily." 2016 2nd International Conference on Humanities and Social Science Research (ICHSSR 2016). Atlantis Press, 2016.
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