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The Character Attributes of Miss Emily

            In many small Southern Towns, during the late eighteen hundreds to early nineteen hundreds, people like to gossip since there is not a lot to do for fun. Their source of entertainment is the word around town. In the southern gothic story, "A Rose for Emily," a member or members of the community tell the story of the sympathetic Miss Emily Grierson. A slender young figure raised by her father, who sheltered her from all the men who tried to court her, she finds herself alone after his death until one northerner by the name of Homer Barron reaches their town, Jefferson. The author portrays her as sympathetic because of her fear of loneliness. She falls in love with this man but as she sees that he is slipping away she poisons him because of her fear of loneliness. This action also shows her stubbornness and her aversion to change. The purpose of this paper is to investigate Miss Emily's character and her motives. In William Faulkner's short story, "A Rose for Emily", he characterizes Miss Emily as a proper southern woman who would do anything to fill the hole in her life after her father's death while averting the change around her.
             To completely understand Miss Emily's position before revealing the fate of Homer Barron, the author must show her personality and life's events. Faulkner paints her as a tradition and town monument (reprinted in Greg and Thomas R. Arp. Perrine's Literature, Sound and Sense. 12th ed [Boston: Wadsworth, 2015] 534-541). The author also indirectly characterizes her as stubborn and unchanging by describing her house, "only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores" (534). He uses the house to symbolize Miss Emily and her static character among the rest of the town and community. Another instance Miss Emily shows stubbornness is the now small plump woman's repeated rejection of the city officials who try to make her pay taxes again after she had been pardoned of paying them after her father died (535).

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