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A Letter from Birmingham Jail

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Essay title: A Letter from Birmingham Jail

William Faulkner’s short story, “A Rose For Emily”, tells the story of the life and times of Emily Grierson. She was considered “an obligation upon the town.” All of the men had a respectful affection towards her and all of the women were curious of her lifestyle. In her later days she stayed in her home never speaking or coming in contact with any of the towns people, and was never able to settle down with a man. This was a direct outcome of the way her father treated her when she was younger.

The Grierson family was one of the few wealthy plantation owning families in the South before the Civil War. They were often talked about by the towns people. They had this image of Emily and her father. It depicted Emily, slender and dressed in white in the background, with her father in front with his back to her, clutching a horse whip. This image symbolized her fathers belief that none of the men in town were good enough to court his daughter, so he warded them all off with intimidation. This mentality stuck with Emily throughout her life, for she grew to be thirty years old and still single. Faulkner writes, “even with insanity in the family she wouldn’t have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.” This quote goes to show that she was never even given the chance to meet a man.

When her father died she refused to come to acknowledge it. Ministers and doctors tried on several accounts to persuade her to allow them to take the body away, but she would greet them free from any grief and deny his death. This went on for three days until she broke down. The towns people said, “We remembered all the young men her father had driven away and we knew that with nothing left she would cling to what had robbed her.” Her father refused to let any get close to her, leaving her alone once he passed, and she didn’t know how to cope with that.

Her

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