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This quote occurs at the end of Part II of William Faulkner's short story, "A Rose for Emily." Emily's father has just died, leaving her alone and penniless except for the old house in which she lives. The Grierson family had long been one of Jefferson's wealthiest and had always considered "themselves a little too high and mighty for what they really were." Such a haughty attitude caused many of the townspeople to dislike Emily, but now that she had suffered the tragedy of her father's death, it relegated her to a more lowly and human position. She now has no friends and no money. Before this, the citizens had no reason to pity her, but now they actually do.
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