Resistance to Change: Miss Emily Grierson

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Resistance to Change: Miss Emily Grierson
The main character in the short story “A Rose for Emily” written by William Faulkner is Emily Grierson. She lives in Jefferson Mississippi, in a fictional county called Yoknapatawpha County. The people of Yoknapatawpha saw Miss Emily as "a small, fat woman" who was very cold, distant, and lived in her past. Her home "was 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...”. She lived in a little community that was changing and becoming more modern unlike her house. Her house, as Faulkner describes, "...smelled of dust and disuse-a close, dank smell"; "it was furnished in heavy, leather-covered furniture". The look of Emily’s home bothered Emily’s community along with many other things about her. Emily has a "hereditary obligation upon the town". She is from a family of wealth that brought tradition to Yoknapatawpha County. When the town started making modern changes fitting into the next generation Emily became stubborn and showed this by refusing to pay taxes to her county. Emily repeats, "I have no taxes in Jefferson" four times before dismissing the deputation. Thomas Robert Argiro, the author of a critical essay called “Miss Emily After Dark” states that, “[Emily]… struggles with personal grief, a restricted social life, socio-economic decline, and romantic misfortune…” (par.2). Miss Emily is misunderstood by the townspeople and is resistant to the changes around her as well in her life.

Emily Grierson is a reserved person and does not associate with anyone in the town. Colonial Sartoris, the mayor in 1894 remitted Emily’s taxes dating from the death of her father till th...

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...s obsessive with keeping homer by her side forever. Miss Emily becomes mentally unstable and poisons homer. I do believe that the fatalities and changes she goes through have a greater effect on her emotions and actions than the townspeople and readers see without analyzing the story. Argiro states that, “The story is an allegory of misreading signifying backwardness, mystification and psychopathology…” (par.50). Miss Emily is misunderstood by the townspeople and is resistant to the changes around her as well in her life.

Works Cited
Argiro, Thomas Robert. "Miss Emily after dark." The Mississippi Quarterly 64.3-4 (2011): 445+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
Faulkner, William. "A Rose For Emily." 1930. Literature An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 11th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. 29-35. Print.
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