Miss Emily's Alienation

1256 Words6 Pages
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” centers around the lives of townspeople obsessed with a fellow Southern woman who has shut herself out from their community. Although the lineage of Miss Emily Grierson has deep roots in the community, she is anything but a normal citizen. Dominated by a controlling father, whose death leaves Miss Emily very alone, she ostracizes herself from the town by having limited contact with the outside world for the remainder of her life. The community itself does little to coerce Miss Emily out of her forced seclusion. A few routine visits from the townspeople, companionship from Homer Barron, who is found as a skeleton in her house upon her death, and assistance from her house keeper Tobe is the only interaction Miss Emily has with the outside world. In a community infiltrated with evolving social standards brought on by an ever changing political and technological country, Miss Emily is left as “the victim of southern tradition and culture” (Fang, 18). Her victimization, and ultimate ostracism, is a result of the community’s inability to perceive Miss Emily as anything but a “high and mighty” (Faulkner, 392) Grierson who became a “disgrace to the town” (Faulkner, 395) when the working class Northerner, Homer Barron, began courting her. The beginning and end of the story illustrates the townspeople’s almost indifferent opinion of Miss Emily’s death through the narrator’s recollection of events. From the beginning, the community depicts Miss Emily more as an unwanted object they wish to explore than a recently deceased person. Part of the first line reads, “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house” (Faulkner, 391). When a person dies, the initial reaction of most people would
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