The Way Emily Grierson’s Public Image in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” Reflect the Darker Aspects of Her Character

The Way Emily Grierson’s Public Image in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” Reflect the Darker Aspects of Her Character

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a short story about the life of South America at the beginning of the 20th century, which illustrates an attitude to women during the period described. Faulkner mainly presents Emily, the protagonist of the story, through the eyes of people, who surround her. In some cases their vision and attitude to this woman reflect her dark side.
Townsfolk believe that Emily Grierson is a reserved person. They got used to her style of life and try not to bother her in her loneliness. They know that she does not like communicating with other people. Her father, several servants and Homer Barron make the limited number of people she communicates with. This enables her to hide ill traits of her personality from other people. People also believe that she is stubborn and know that their attempts to communicate with her will result in nothing. Emily does not want to let her beloved men go. She does not want to let burry the body of her dead father and she goes even further in her stubbornness killing Homer in order to make her obey her wish and stay with her.
Despite people do not have a direct contact with Emily, they have an important influence on all her life. Noble position and expectations of the society do not let Emily get married, as her father can not find a worthy partner for his aristocratic daughter. Social opinion destroys Emily’s hope for happiness and makes her life empty and senseless. This finally makes her possessive. She does not want to give the body of her father after he dies. People explain this strange behavior by Emily’s love to her father. She even keeps the corpse of her lover in order not to let him leave her. The pressure of the society does not let Emily confess that Homer has left her and she commits a murder in order to save her reputation and save her face in public. The phrase “Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette with foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip…” gives a good description of the type of relations between Emily and her father (Faulkner 69). From the early childhood Emily was desperately looking of for love and compassion. Since she did not get it she became possessive and did everything possible in order to make her beloved people stay with her. Other people explained such strange behavior by extravagance and love to her dear people. They felt compassionate for Emily and tried not to notice the limit, after which her love got perverted form. People closed their eyes on strange smell from Emily’s house and disappearance of Homer Barron. Only after Emily’s death they found out about the terrible form and terrible consequence of her love and desire to possession.
After opening closed room after Emily’s death town folks see there “room decked and furnished as for a bridal: upon the valance curtains of faded rose color, upon the rose-shaded lights, upon the dressing table, upon the delicate array of crystal and the man’s toilet things backed with tarnished silver, silver so tarnished that the monogram was obscured” (Faulkner 72). All worst predictions come true and this scene proves that. Somehow usual townsfolk managed to predict the worst course of events. They managed to feel that Emily can turn to evil deeds probably before she did it in reality. The author gives his readers an opportunity to decide whether expectations proceeded and even provoked Emily’s behavior or vice versa.


Works Cited
Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. The Merrill Literary Casebook Series. Columbus:
Charles E. Merrill, 1970.