Miss Emily’s Real Identity In the story A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, Miss Emily Grierson is a single woman shut off from society her whole life by her father. When her father dies, her life crumbles and she is ultimately driven mad. Miss Emily is a very complex person, whether it is her physical appearance, her thoughts, feelings, actions, and especially her relationships. When it comes to Emily’s physical appearance, she is not just a basic character with basic features. The imagery is amazing in this story, not only in her features but in every aspect, and you are able to see everything he writes.
When Faulkner sets her characteristics, it sounds as if he is describing a dead body. He writes, “She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. (595)” As if to say she looks like a corpse; pale and swollen. When explaining her facial characteristics, one imagines a snowman. He writes “Her eyes looked like two small pieces of coal pressed in to a lump of dough (595)” which makes one think of a snowman’s eyes but when he says the word dough, it is easy to imagine.
When he writes, “her eyes were lost in fatty ridges of her face,” it makes one think she is either old or has aged with stress (which is likely) since another word for ridges is wrinkles. Another way he explains her is as having a small skeleton which he says makes her look obese instead of just plump; which just means she was short, but if she were tall she would not look as big as she did. When the Board of Aldermen visited her house, they or he described her as if in mourning. She was dressed in all black with a thin gold chain and had a cane with an old gold head.
Labeling her with wrinkles or lines and a cane, makes one to believe she is older. Overall, Emily is a short fat woman that dresses with age. Miss Emily is surrounded by history and a house just like her. When house is described as what in modern terms would be called a mansion, set on one of the nicest streets. Faulkner writes, “It was a big, quarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had been our most select street. (595)” The street changed, however the house only grew and changed with age, much like Miss Emily. garages and cotton gins had encroached the obliterated even the august names of the neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left. (595)” The story takes place in what seems to be in a small town, called Jefferson, in the late 1860’s, just after the civil war. The smaller the town, the more gossip and trouble there is to stir up. Miss Emily, due to her actions, lead the reader to believe she could possibly be a necrophiliac. A necrophiliac is a person who sleeps with dead bodies, whether it is in a sexual or nonsexual way. The first thing the reader notices is, the fact that she refused to give up her father’s body for three days. She told them her father was not dead. She did that for three days (597). ” This seems somewhat odd but because of the relationship she had with her father, it was not as unusual as thought to be. The unseen relationship written between the lines of this book, between her and her father are outrageous. He not only controlled her whole life when he was alive but continued to control it when he was dead. So after he died was the only time she had the chance to control him. Because he cut her off from society her entire life she was unable to have relationships as an adult.
Her mother is not mentioned at all in the story, which seems rather odd. Mr. Grierson, her father, raised Emily her entire life away from all her relatives. Her kin, which lived somewhere in Alabama, had nothing to do with her besides the two girl cousins that appear twice in the story. The townspeople simply say, “Poor Emily. Her kinsfolk should come to her. She had some kin in Alabama; but years ago her father had fallen out with them (598). ” Emily lives alone for a year with a very old Negro servant living with her. She soon meets a man named Homer Barron, who courts her but does not want to marry her. Homer himself had remarked that he was not a marrying man (598). ” This made Emily angry and her deeper more insane side comes to view once more. She becomes consumed in finding love no matter what the limits. Miss Emily buys arsenic at a local drug store and poisons Homer. Her Necrophilia comes into play once more and Homer Barron is not seen for many years. When she dies, the entire town comes out of curiosity. The two cousins, once more mentioned, waited to open the door upstairs that had not been seen for forty years until “she was decently in the ground (600). Faulkner wrote this line, almost to show the uncertainty of the room or more importantly the certainty. In the end, her insane side had completely taken over her. She had bought “man’s toilet things backed with tarnished silver (600)” and a men’s tux, as if to hint she married them. In the story A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, Miss Emily Grierson is a single woman shut off from society her whole life by her father. When her father dies, her life crumbles and she is ultimately driven mad. Miss Emily is a very complex person, whether it is her physical appearance, her thoughts, feelings, actions, and especially her relationships.