A Rose for Emily

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Desperation for love arising from detachment can lead to extreme measures and destructive actions as exhibited by the tumultuous relationships of Miss Emily in William Faulkner's “A Rose for Emily” (rpt. in Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, 9th ed. [Boston: Wadsworth, 2006] 556). Miss Emily is confined from society for the majority of her life by her father, so after he has died, she longs for relations that ironically her longing destroys. The despondency and obsession exuded throughout the story portray the predicament at hand. Miss Emily's relationship with her father is a key factor in the development of her isolation. As she is growing up, he will not let anybody around his daughter, particularly young suitors. The town assumes his decision is due to the idea that “the Griersons [hold] themselves a little too high for what they really [are]” to the point that “none of the young men [are] quite good enough” (559). Because Emily's father keeps her from everyone, she becomes very attached to him. He dies when she is nearly thirty, her only companion gone. Her strong bond to him is so severe that after his death, she denies he was dead at all and will not give his body up to the authorities for three days. The town observes that because she has “nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her,” meaning Emily is so desperate for a companion that when her father is gone, she has nothing left to cling to but him (559). However, he has a lasting effect on her that contributes to her isolation. He instills the Grierson pride, so Daugherty 2 that she often does not interact with others. His influence is “too virulent and too furious to die” (562). Emily has a ... ... middle of paper ... ...ther is concerned, he denies her the chance for love and detaches her from society. Partial blame can be placed on the attitude he instills in her so that she possesses the “dignity of the last Grierson” (560). She holds herself above others in the town, save Homer. The town's fickleness and disconnection towards her push her further into isolation. All of these factors finally result in the relationship with Homer. She is so desperate for contact and for love that when she finds them, she is terrified of their leaving. She is pushed then to kill Daugherty 4 Homer, so that love will never leave her again. Miss Emily is a desperate individual formed by the relationships that isolated her, which resulted in her extreme actions. Emily and Homer's short—yet long lived—relationship reveals a common effect of love denied and confinement from contact: destruction.
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