A Rose for Emily By William Faulkner


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In my opinion, William Faulkner displays a perfect example of the old saying, “what goes around comes around” in the short story A Rose For Emily. The main character, Miss Emily Grierson, doesn’t know why the public eye looks at her the way it does, she also doesn’t know why people act so differently around her. I believe it is strongly because of her father and the way he treated her while she was growing up.

The story only spoke briefly about the father, but what they did say made him out to be somewhat controlling person. The story mentioned that there was a picture in the house that showed Miss Emily and her father standing in the doorway. Miss Emily was placed in the background and her father was in the front with a whip. To me, that seems very intimidating and controlling. In some situations people use a whip to control or tame a situation or even person.

Another instance that seemed to be controlling on the part of the father was that no one was ever good enough for his daughter, Miss Emily. Mr. Grierson was always running off the young men that would come around the house to see Miss Emily. Miss Emily’s father never even tried to see if any of the young men were of any interest to Miss Emily. The story also states that the Griersons thought that they were better than the other people in the town. The fact that Miss Emily’s father was a controlling man was one of the main, but not only, motivations for the way that Miss Emily acted and reacted to the public.

Another characteristic of Miss Emily was that she was not a very sociable person with the community except for that six or seven years when she taught china painting. The reason that I feel Miss Emily acted in this way was again due to the controlling nature of her father and the fact that she was raised to think that she was better than the other people around her. With Miss Emily’s father being in control of the things in her life she did not know how to react to or communicate with other people in a normal manner.

The next action that I would like to address that Miss Emily acted upon was to choose a man that no one agreed with.

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No one agreed with Homer Barron being the man that Miss Emily loved was because he was, “a Yankee- a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face” (32). The way the story describes Miss Emily, it sounds almost like her and Homer are just complete and total opposites and should never be associated with each other. Miss Emily’s family didn’t agree with her being with Homer because his social class was beneath that of the Grierson family. Miss Emily had to take into consideration all the thoughts of the people around her while she was with Homer. I guess because her father made most of her decisions for her, after he had died she didn’t necessarily know how to pick the right guy that actually suited her and her needs.

Putting yourself in other peoples shoes and looking at things from their perspective can have a great impact on they way you perceive them as well. Miss Emily’s father raised her to believe that she was better than most everyone else around her and that’s how she acted when she was around other people. With some other things that helped contribute to why she felt the way she did including Homer, and the overall public eye that watched her like a hawk watched its prey. In my opinion her father had the most impact on the way she acted and what she believed.


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