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Requiem for an Aristocrat

Satisfactory Essays
Requiem for an Aristocrat
“It’s lonely at the top,” a cliche that Faulkner reaffirms in his classical short story, “A Rose for Emily.” In this southern tale, a social class structure separated the “high and mighty Griersons” from the rest of the town. After the Civil War, the southern upper class society was dwindling with the northern industrialists rising in national influence. Emily Grierson was the product of an overprotective single father raising a high society child. During this era the southern high society type was considered a dying breed. Emily’s father instilled values and morals that only an arrogant aristocrat could set in a child. Emily’s inability to involve herself in social settings, her blatant disregard of the law, and her radical approach to intimate relationships all stem from her father’s upbringing.
The town was filled with people Emily had no desire to interact with. She kept herself locked inside her house and sent Tobe, her servant, to take care of mostly all obligations that required social interactions. She spent the greater part of her life inside this fortress of solitude she considered home. During Emily’s years as a young lady, she was led to believe none of the young men deserved her. The young men did not measure up to her father’s expectations so he dismissed them. Even at thirty years of age, Emily remained single because her father would limit her social interaction. So it was common for the townspeople to refrain from associating with such distinguished people. The entire town attended Emily Grierson’s funeral without knowing her beyond her name. This type o f upbringing left Emily isolated.
Emily held an “above-the-law” attitude that was common amongst aristocrats in the southern states at that time. Once Emily’s father died, the mayor felt obligated to allow Emily to refrain from paying taxes. When Emily visited her druggist for arsenic, he allowed her to purchase the poison without having to give reason for its use even though the law states that you must. Emily even disregarded the unwritten laws of high society. It was unheard of that a person of her stature would date a Yankee laborer. She went against even the most fundamental of social laws and gave a laborer, by the name of Homer Barron, an opportunity to court her. This shocked the entire town and “reaffirmed her imperviousness” (429).
Emily was unable to produce a healthy relationship with a person because her father kept her single to her thirties, making her feel as though no man deserved her hand.
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