Characterization within A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

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By using strong characterization and dramatic imagery, William Faulkner introduces us to Miss Emily Grierson in “A Rose for Emily”. The product of a well-established, but now fallen family, Emily plays common role found in literature- a societal outcast, who earns her banishment from society through her eclectic behavior and solitary background. Often living in denial and refusing to engage with others, Emily responds to her exile by spending the remainder of her life as a mysterious recluse that the rest of society is more content to ignore rather than break social customs to confront her. Emily’s role as an outcast mirrors a major theme of the story, that denial is a powerful tool in hiding a secret, however, the truth will eventually…show more content…
Emily continues to stay a recluse as her house begins to smell and she chooses not to go out anymore. Because her behavior and reclusive nature has made her unacceptable in her community’s eyes, Emily counters their attitude with a refusal to live in their presence. Even though the town has gossiped about her and asked her family to step in on occasion, they never completely snubbed her. In many ways, they tried to bridge the gap or assist her, but each time she refused them. This is first seen when her father dies and people begin to feel sorry for her. The ladies gathered to offer help and sympathy, but are denied by Emily when she swears that her father is still alive. Later, when the town starts free postal delivery, Emily does not allow them to put a mail receptacle or address numbers on her home. Emily is physically refusing to let the outside world contact her. Then there is the debacle with her taxes. As the newer generation tries to rectify the former mayor’s decision to discharge her taxes, she refuses to answer their tax statement and later a personal letter from the mayor. Finally, the Board of Alderman visits her house, and tries to explain why she has to pay her taxes. She refuses to listen to their reasoning and she quickly dismisses them. During this time, there is only one person that is allowed in her home, a male servant who is African-American. As the years pass, the man grows old with her. Despite all of the years of him
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