American writer, William Faulkner, was born on September 25, 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi and died on July 6, 1962 in Byhalia, Mississippi. He wrote many short stories, novels, essays, screenplays, poetry and a play. He is mainly known for his novels and short stories such as A Rose for Emily (1930), Light in August (1932) and Barn Burning (1939). Faulkner received many awards including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, for which he became the only Mississippi born winner. He also received the National Book Award for his Collected Stories (1951), National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize Award for A Fable (1955) and a Pulitzer Prize for The Reivers (1963). Faulkner is considered one of the most influential American writers of the twentieth century. In the story, A Rose for Emily, Emily Grierson was a lonely old woman that couldn’t move on from the past, she was never really social, but, after her controlling father’s death, Emily became the town’s recluse and their obligation; however Emily was an eccentric yet demanding woman that fell in love and indeed up murdering her lover Homer.
Emily Grierson didn’t like change of any type and after her father’s death tend to be stuck in the past. Time was symbolic to her ability to move forward in her life. She refused to comply with the postal employees by putting up the numbers and a mailbox “When the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them” (6-7). Emily wouldn’t acknowledge the fact that Colonel Sartoris had died and she had to pay her taxes “See Colonel Sartoris.” (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years)” (2). Emily represented the decline of the Old South and is referred to as a “fallen monument” and “tradition” throughout her town as she desperately attempts to hold onto the past.
At this point, Emily had detached herself from the town to live in seclusion no “Visitor had passed since she ceased giving china-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier” (2). She isolated herself from the ladies of the community “A few of the ladies had the temerity to call, but were not received” (3). There was a rumor going around that she even had a mysteries illness “She was sick for a long time” (4). She tried to remove herself from society altogether “After her father’s death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all” (3). Emily was clearly the town’s topic of gossip and discussion, but also within that discussion there is a certain amount of respect “Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (1). “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument” (1). The townspeople pitted Emily because of her situation and because of that granted her special considerations some families would not get.
Strangely enough, this all allowed her to become the recluse she did and get away with the Homer’s murder. Emily’s father was a very controlling man. He had a significant influence on her even after death “On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily’s father” (2) It is believed through these portraits he was very strict and maybe abusive “We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, 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” (3). After his death she refused to let the body go until the third day “She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days” (4). At the end of the story we learn of Homers murder by Emily and what she has done with his body “Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair” (8). It is believed that Emily had a form of Necrophilia which is a sexual attraction to corpses. Emily’s love was so great that she wanted to keep Homer forever, which she did in the end by killing him and sleeping with his body.
No doubt, Emily Grierson was an interesting character. She was dark and mysteries and left a lot to the imagination because there wasn’t a lot of information about her. There was many twist in the story that kept it engaging. Emily Grierson was a lonely old woman that couldn’t move on from the past, she was never really social, but, after her controlling father’s death, Emily became the town’s recluse and their obligation; however Emily was an eccentric yet demanding woman that fell in love and indeed up murdering her lover Homer.