Regarded after her death as a "monument" by the townspeople Miss Emily Grierson represents the Southern lady of an antiquated and effete patriarchal system:
Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris...remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity....Only a man of Colonel Sartoris' generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it.
Always under the dominance of her father, even after his death, Miss Emily plays the role of the Southern lady, dimissing the city authorities when they come to collect taxes on her property: "Show these gentlemen out."
Thus, there is little that Miss Emily does that demonstrates feminine empowerment. She does, however, defy tradition for her by being seen with the Northern commoner Homer Barron; and, she claims him in the only relationship that she has known--that of herself with death. The child of a dead patriarchal system, the daughter of a dead patriarch, Miss Emily becomes the wife of a dead man. This death she freely chooses in a macabre act of feminism.