Diagnosing Miss Emily in William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily

Decent Essays
In William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily there is more than enough evidence to determine that Miss Emily is mentally ill. Most of the clues and hints are subtle, but when they are all pieced together the puzzle becomes clear. Not saying it is clear as too what Miss Emily was suffering from, the only way to know that for certain would be if the author or narrator told us in the text. We can conclude, however, she was suffering from some form of mental illness. Miss Emily was seen as a recluse and odd, but what no one in the town knew was that she couldn't help it there was more going on with her then people could see.
By the story’s conclusion, the reader can go back through the story and identify many episodes where Miss Emily behavior
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When Miss Emily refuses to respond to a government letter regarding her taxes the Board of Alderman comes to visit her. When she comes in she is cold to the gentlemen, showing her lack of social skills which in many cases is a factor in mental Illness. Also before Miss Emily makes the guests leave she tells the, that if they still think she has taxes they need to "see Colonel Sartoris," (Faulkner 149) who has been dead ten years. This statement by Miss Emily could be seen as her minds unwillingness to live in the present. Her mind belives what it wants which is also the case after her fathers death. We see in the book that after her father’s death and her subsequent breakdown, Miss Emily was “sick for a long time." This could mean the state that Miss Emily refused to believe her father was gone. Right after the death of her father, the ladies of the town come to Miss Emily’s home to offer their condolences, and they observe that she had “no trace of grief on her face” (Faulkner 151). The inability to either feel or demonstrate appropriate emotion, is a classic symptom of mental illness. More explicitly, Miss Emily insisted to the visitors that “her father was not dead” (Faulkner 151). For this reason, Miss Emily would not let anyone remove her father's body until three days after her father should have been buried. Finally the third day “she broke down” and let the townspeople remove the body quickly
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