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A Rose for Emily Character Essay

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Essay title: A Rose for Emily Character Essay

Character of Emily Rose

In Faulkner’s “A story of a Rose”, Emily’s character is made in several ways. Her character is shown in the condition of her surroundings and her physical appearance. Also, Emily is portrayed as cold and reclusive through her dealings with other people. Faulkner also shows that she is out of touch with the changing times. And finally, her decay is complete after her death.

Emily’s character is reflected upon by the condition of her surroundings and her physical appearance. Ray B. West Jr. quotes in his essay saying, “When she was young and part of the world with which she was contemporary, she was, we are told, “a slender figure in white” (West 2). Faulkner also says that “her hair was cut short and, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows” (Faulkner 97). Later in the story, after Emily had grown older she is said as having “grown fat and her hair was turning gray” (Faulkner 100). Donald Akers wrote in his essay that “Emily is quickly established as a strange character when the alderman enter her decrepit parlor in a futile attempt to collect her taxes. She is described as looking “…bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue” (Akers 1). She had quit taking care of herself and had no concern with her appearance by that time. At one time Emily’s house was described as “a big, squarish 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 once been their most select street” (Faulkner 93). Over time Emily’s house became stagnant and dusty and it also reflected the state of her mind. Faulkner speaks of the state of Emily’s house as “lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps—an eyesore among eyesores” (Faulkner 94). It is also

The way Emily dealt with the people around her and in her town also reflected Emily’s character. She had a very haughty and better than thou attitude towards the people that she came into contact with. She also didn’t really seem to care if she had any friends or not. When the men came to her house to try to persuade her to pay her taxes she “vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she vanquished their fathers thirty years before” (Faulkner 95). Faulkner also says that “a few of the ladies had the temerity to call, but were not received” (Faulkner 97), showing her lack of wanting to make friends. I think that the relationship between Emily and Homer really shows how sick and perverse Emily’s mind really was. When she poisoned Homer and left his body in an upstairs bedroom where she seemingly slept with it at night it shows that she was an intensely lonely and sick person. It truly is a sad situation that she had to go to such extremes to keep her loved one around. After the last sighting of Homer, Emily was not seen outside of her house on the streets for many months.

Emily is out of touch with reality. This is shown in a couple of ways. The first example in the story that showed that she was out of touch was when the city authorities came to her house trying to collect taxes from her. She kept telling them to “see Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson”(Faulkner 95). She didn’t seem to realize that the Colonel had been dead for ten years and was ignoring the fact that there was no record of her being exempt from the taxes. Another startling example was when her father died and she kept sending the townsfolk away telling them that he was not dead. Donald Akers writes about this saying that Emily was a product of the old South. He says that “Emily is a product of that society and she clings desperately to it as when she refuses to give up her father’s body. She also becomes a victim of her old society.

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