Changes and Madness of Miss Emily in A Rose for Emily

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“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, describes a women’s sentimental illness caused by isolation. Emily Grierson looses her moral compass, and her trace of reality, her inability to be loved, her desire to be recognized as someone significant, was never accomplished. In the story, it is apparent that the topic of this story is about one dealing with newly found challenges and changes in their life. In this short story, Emily Grierson, endures heavy amounts of adjustment and loss, along with the judgment of the people of her town. Throughout the story, it is clear that the perception of how one should act can really have an immense effect on people and how they decide to behave.

This story being rather anachronistical adds to the meaning of how peoples opinions matter. The narrative was changing from Emilys to the townspeople and what they thought of her. The author decided to split the short story into 5 different sections for a stylistic preference. The narrator starts speaking in the first person that represents the entire town, remembers that, when Emily Grierson died, all the townspeople of Jefferson, Mississippi attended the funeral held in her house. Many went as for respect and others to just see. “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” The sense that the town as interested in, invested in and always watching.

Show how nosey and intertwined the community was with everyone in it. Miss Emily is seen as the weird lady through the first section saying she stayed at home and never paid taxes. The house is like Emily was a monument on the outside and a curiosity on the inside, everyone was so eager to see what it withheld. The mention of the cemetery, another shrine to the past, suggests that as is often the case in Faulkner’s works to understand the present, we must also understand the past. It is clear this short story is taken place circa pre Civil war. We can see because Colonel Sartoris, who as mayor passed a racist law demanding black women to wear their aprons in public a sly reminder of the old social hierarchy of the South. In this section, we get a gist of Emily’s father and the social hierarchy past. We can see how people saw Emily as a wealthy aristocrat because of her father and strange given some went to the funeral.

The end of the story reveals the townspeople when they next saw Miss Emily in person they say” she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray. During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt iron-gray” From that time on, her door was always closed, for six or seven years. The people were really noticing such as her graying. One of the greatest symbols of the book of Miss Emily’s character, and who she is and how she changes, is (shockingly enough) her hair. For example, after her father dies, Miss Emily falls ill for a long .

Then later we see the hair mention as turning grayer Later after Homer Barron disappears into the Grierson house, Miss Emily is next observed with “iron-gray” hair, “like the hair of an active man.” First, like an iron helmet, the “iron-gray” hair suggests that Miss Emily has something to hide indeed she is protecting a dreadful secret: Homer’s murder. Second, that her hair resembles the hair of an active man suggests that Miss Emily has rejected her community’s norms for female conduct, which she indeed has, in demanding her control over Homer by murdering him. And, finally, it is only by discovering a strand of Miss Emily’s hair on a pillow next to Homer’s corpse that the townspeople realize just how damaged, even criminally insane Miss Emily was. Given all of this, we might conclude that Miss Emily’s hair symbolizes both the woman’s wild mental life as well as her radical withdrawal and isolation from her community.

The Prolepsis at the end of the story talks about how they are in the room at the funeral again like in the beginning. We can see how the author meticulously chooses to use numerous descriptive words like “ A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room decked and furnished as for a bridal: upon the valance curtains of faded rose color, upon the rose-shaded lights, upon the dressing table, upon the delicate array of crystal and the man’s toilet things backed with tarnished silver, silver so tarnished that the monogram was obscured.” the use of all the descriptive words told from the people for the town show how interested and much attention they showed.


Cite this paper

Changes and Madness of Miss Emily in A Rose for Emily. (2021, Jan 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/changes-and-madness-of-miss-emily-in-a-rose-for-emily/



How does Emily change in A Rose for Emily?
As the story progresses, Emily becomes increasingly reclusive and isolated from the rest of the town. She also becomes more desperate to hold onto the past and maintain control over her life, leading to her eventual descent into madness.
WHAT DOES A Rose for Emily say about change?
A Rose for Emily is a story about change and how people react to it. The story is set in the South during a time of great change, and it shows how people can be resistant to change even when it is for the better.
Why did Emily go crazy in A Rose for Emily?
Some believe that Emily went crazy because she was unable to deal with the death of her father. Others believe that she was driven insane by the townspeople's gossip and speculation about her life.
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