Perhaps the best approach to this quotation is the perspective of Emily as symbolic of the Old South in William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily." Earlier in the short story, the narrators mention that Miss Emily has 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....dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity.
And, as these narrators continue to describe what they think and feel in relation to Emily, the reader comes to understand the social conventions and tradition that have composed and directed Emily Grierson's life. For, Emily is "a monument"; and, like a monument, Emily is held captive by a romantic Old South that places its burdens upon those of old, genteel names. Thus, she is "dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse."