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When Curiosity and High Class Meet: A Psychological Critical Analysis of A Rose for Emily

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Essay title: When Curiosity and High Class Meet: A Psychological Critical Analysis of A Rose for Emily

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English 113, D3

29 November 2007

When Curiosity and High Class Meet: A Psychological Critical Analysis of “A Rose for Emily”

“A Rose for Emily” is an interesting tale about a small town spinster who leads a somewhat

secret life. The narrator in the story is not a single person but the voice of the community itself. The

whole story is told in parts of her life about strange things that happened and how the community

handled it.

The community in “A Rose for Emily” gives us the impression that they are watching Emily

Griersons whole life from across the street. While reading the work we are made to feel like someone

inquiring about Emily Grierson, asking the town about her life, and somehow going back in time. The

community tells of times of the old south during the Civil War, and the gentile manner of the people

who lived there. The voice tells us of the old southern town of Jefferson. Time moves on but Emily

Grierson seems to stay in the past along with her property. “When the town got free postal delivery,”

we are told, “Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a

mailbox to it. She would not listen” (599). In the beginning of the story we learn through the narrative

voice of the community that the city officials had all retired and new ones had come in. Someone found

that Emily had not paid taxes in years because a Colonel Sartoris had remitted her taxes when her father

died to relieve some financial strain. The mayor did not like this so he sent people out to inform her that

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she had not paid her taxes. The voice of the community reports a dialog in which, after much protesting

with her she finally says, “See Colonel Sartoris”, then we are told in confidence, “ (Colonel Sartoris had

been dead almost ten years)” (596). These men were only interested in collecting her taxes and did not

care about an old agreement, “…for the new generation” as Ray B. West Jr. notes, “ the word of Colonel

Sartoris meant nothing.” (266).After her death, the community describes her as, “…[passing] from

generation to generation-dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse” (600).

The people of the antebellum town of Jefferson were incredibly critical and particular about the

matters of the town’s existence. When it comes to Emily Grierson’s personal life, everyone seems to

have something to say. Everything from the paint on the house to the way it smelled was scrutinized.

The voice of the community describes the house as, “…[a] big squarish frame house that had once been

white…lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps an

eyesore among eyesores” (595). This decaying of her house shows her decaying mental state along with

the decaying of herself as she grows older. As Kvita Newvell explains, “Not only does this symbolize

the decay of Emily physically but it symbolizes the decay of Emily; mentally” (par 23).When an odor

began to permeate at Emily’s house the town women watched closely and made a cruel comment toward

one of Emily’s servants, “Just

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