Miss Emily Grierson isolated herself from a society that would not accept her for who she was. She was viewed as someone to be pitied and scorned. Everyone deserves a rose in life, and yet Miss Emily was denied her rose from everyone that ever came into contact with her. Her father, the townspeople, and even Homer Barron denied her love. Miss Emily found her rose and she would not accept the loss of love.
When the townspeople come forward with complaints of the bad smell coming from her house. He says, “Dammit, sir will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?” (24) Emily Grierson is a good example of how the Old South functioned. They were proud and unable to accept that times were changing. She had wanted things to stay the same so badly that she shut herself in her house unwelcoming for anyone to enter. She could not handle her father’s death and tried very hard to isolate herself from the world changing.
As she grew older, Emily began to distance herself from society, and gradually the public reciprocated. Her overbearing father controlling her life and pushing everyone away ultimately contributed to the acceleration of her mental instability and sense of control which led to Emily’s gradual isolation from society. Emily’s peculiar personality and aura, mainly her sense of control and unwavering independence that she developed from her father, frightened other civilians. When certain women asked the Baptist minister to go to Emily’s house to discuss her marriage with Homer, readers can gather he was very afraid, “He would never divulge what happened during that interview, but he refused to go back again” (Faulkner, 378). Furthermore, when she went to purchase poison from store, she was asked by the druggist to clarify its purpose, but she refused, “Miss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic and wrapped it up.” (Faulkner, 377).
Since she had only her father to rely on, she did not want to admit that he was dead at first. Until it came down to the law and force, she did what was to be expected when she had nothing left: she "[clung] to that which had robbed her" (Faulkner 77). Once they took the body, Emily had to face the fact that she was truly alone. She then got a manservant to depend upon and support her. The manservant was seen "going in and out with a market basket" (Faulkner 76) but she hardly came out of the house herself.
They also knew they could pity her and the woman even came to her house to console her. They found it interesting when they saw no sense of grief amongst her face, and that she acted like she had no idea of the death of her father. People of Jefferson still didn?t think she was crazy, they had just figured it was all she had to do. She wasn?t very tidy and she had left an African American to clean up her house and be her butler. They women knew that a man surely didn?t know how to clean a house so they knew he was the reason for the horrible smells.
Miss Emily, however, never married. Her father had never accepted her suitors, meeting them at the door "clutching a horsewhip." He selfishly kept her single all those years, which must have caused immense embarrassment to a woman from her era, whose whole life should have led up to her marriage. She seldom left her house after her father died, further mystifying herself to the town who watched her life from behind their lace curtains. The Civil War came and went, and Miss Emily still lived in that same house "set on what had once been [the] most select street," "lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps."
Descriptions of the decaying house symbolize Miss Emily's physical and emotional decay, and as well as her mental problems. The representation between herself and her house is shown through constant neglect and unappreciation. In one point that Faulkner makes, the house is described to be stubborn and unrelenting, as Miss Emily is also portrayed on many occasions. Examples of her stubbornness is not letting the "new guard" attach metal numbers above her door when the town began to receive free mail service, when she refuses to believe that her father is dead, and refuses to pay her taxes. Just as the house seems to reject progress and updating, so does Miss Emily, until both of them become decaying symbols of their dying generation.
The Grierson house is a physical reminder of Miss Emily's reluctance to change. The "big squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and scrolled balconies in the heavenly lightsome style of the seventies (236)" was located on one of the most prominent and prestigious neighborhoods in the town of Jefferson. However, times changed and new generations replaced the old ones and the town moved on towards the future. The houses were replaced by cotton gins and auto garages until only Miss Emily's house was left. The Grierson house is a visible reminder that Miss Emily can not accept change.
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.
In the story “ A Rose for Emily”, by William Faulkner the narrator introduces the reader to Emily Grierson, a sheltered southern woman who while alive struggled immensely with her sanity and the evolving world around her. Emily's father, a very prestigious man is the cause of Emily's senseless behavior. He kept her secluded from the rest of the town “We remembered all the young men her father had driven away...” (Page 3.) If Emily had been allowed to date and socialize with people her own age would she had turned out differently. Emily Grierson, the only remaining member of the upper class Grierson family refuses to leave the past behind her even as the next generation begins to take over.