William Faulkner’s short story, “A Rose for Emily”, is an example of how a small town’s
inhabitants can shape the character of one woman based on gossip. The narrator, comprised
primarily of the many voices of the town’s people with little input from Miss Emily, draw their
own conclusions about her, a women who was a sort of living relic in the town that was
progressing into modern times without her. Since the many voices of the town’s people
comprise the narrator, their speculations shape Miss Emily’s character, her reasons for being a
recluse and their reasons for avoiding confronting her.
While Miss Emily is the main focus of Faulkner’s short story, no ...view middle of the document...
There are a few instances when Miss Emily is given a voice, a chance to let the reader
know who she really is, through dialogue with other characters. The first time is when the
sheriff’s men go to her house asking about taxes. Miss Emily is short on patience with the men
and has Tobe, house keeper, show the men out. On, another occasion, when Miss Emily speaks
she says “I want some poison”(Faulkner 792). As with her encounter with the sheriff’s men,
again, Miss Emily’s manner of speaking is curt and demanding. Since there is a collective fear
from the narrator that stems from the lack of concrete knowledge about Miss Emily, is given
what she wants without question.
While the character of Miss Emily is being shaped by the narrator, glaring reasons arise
that warrant concern for her mental health. The first sign that Miss Emily is in need of help is
the passing of her father. For several days she denies he is dead . When she finally breaks down
and lets the men of the town burry him, the town’s people still do not confront Miss Emily.
“We did not think she was crazy then”(Faulkner 791). Instead the narrators avoid Miss Emily
and draw their own conclusions from a distance.
A few years pass after her father’s death. A smell begins to emanate from Miss Emily’s
home, and a few citizens go to the mayor and complain. Despite the concern the narrator has for
the, smell Miss Emily is once again left alone. The town’s people feel more comfortable
sneaking around in the dark than attempting to confront her. Another sign Miss Emily is in need
of help is when she goes out and purchases poison. No one seems to be able to get past Miss
Emily’s ancient status in the town to confront her. They know she has negative intentions with
the poison, but the pharmacist still gives it to her.
When Homer returns to Miss Emily’s home, he enters and is never seen again. If Miss
Emily to a doctor and was given treatment she may not have killed Homer Baron. She may have
been better capable to deal with her father’s loss as well. However “she was never evaluated,
diagnosed, or treated by a mental health professional”(“Psychological character Analysis of
Emily in ‘A Rose for Emily’ by William Faulkner”).
Miss Emily’s life was under the control of her father and...