"A Rose for Emily": Insanity, Murder and Death Essay

1292 Words Oct 26th, 2010 6 Pages
Kimberly Sargent
Dr. Ha-Birdsong
English 1213
October 24, 2008
“A Rose for Emily”: Insanity, Murder and Death “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, is a short story telling the life of Emily Grierson Throughout the story, Emily progresses from being a young “slender figure in white” (82) to, after her father’s death, having short hair that made “her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows-sort of tragic and serene” (83), and finally looking “bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue” (81) with “her hair…turning…pepper-and-salt iron-gray” (85). Emily eventually becomes a recluse, living and sleeping with the dead body of Homer Baron. Emily clings
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Emily keeps telling everyone “that her father was not dead” (83). Now some readers may say that this is considered normal behavior when people are grieving - to deny the death of a loved one. But in Emily’s case this reaction shows that she refuses to let go of the past.
The progression of Emily’s insanity and twisted perception of reality is also seen in her relationship with Homer Baron. When Homer Baron comes to town after her father’s death, Emily attaches herself to him. Even though the townspeople are shocked that Emily is going on carriage rides with “a Northerner, a day laborer” (83), no one says anything to her despite their concerns: that “even grief could not cause a real lady to forget nobles oblige” (83). The saying “Poor Emily” (83) starts circulating among the townspeople along with the references to the fact that “old lady Wyatt, (Emily’s) … great-aunt, had gone completely crazy” (82). The townspeople seem concerned about Emily and state that they believe “her kinfolk should come to her” (83) to remind her of who she is. Meanwhile, Emily continues to carry “her head high… [and demands] more than ever, the recognition of her dignity as [being] the last Grierson” (83). Everyone in town knows that Homer has stated that “he liked men …. and was not the marrying kind” (84). Yet Emily continues to see Homer Baron [and] goes so far as to order him a “toilet set in silver, with the letters H. B. on each piece
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