"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner is set in a small Southern town during the post-Civil War era. The story revolves around the protagonist, Miss Emily Grierson, and the peculiar, tragic events of her life. In the aftermath of her father's death, which Emily refuses to acknowledge, she meets a Yankee, Homer Barron, and falls in love with him. When Homer tries to leave her, she poisons him and keeps his body in her bed. It is not until the end of the story when Emily dies, that her murderous act is discovered. Emily can be described as a round, static character; she is a complex and well-developed character with the inability to change. It is this static quality that helps to define Emily's character as being a proud, stubborn, reclusive woman hopelessly clinging onto the ways of the Old South.
One of Emily's most noticeable character traits is pride, which is revealed largely through the unnamed narrator's comments and descriptions. Faulkner writes, " the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were" (90). This statement explains the attitude Emily possesses: belonging to a privileged family, she demands and consequently receives high respect from the town's citizens. However, by showing interest in Homer, a common day laborer, Emily does not adhere to the obligations that her birth rank requires of her. By ignoring the comments of the town people and continuing to see Homer, Emily shows her feeling of superiority. Even after Homer left Emily, the narrator describes that "she carried her head high enough [. . .] it was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson" (91). Faulkner writes, "the two female cousins were even more Grierson the Miss Emily had ever been" (92). In this instance he uses the name Grierson to portray someone as being haughty and arrogant. Emily's pride is a major contributor to her inability to change.