A Rose for Emily Questions and Answers
by William Faulkner

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In "A Rose for Emily" describe Emily Grierson's character.  What are those forces that she stands for and fights against?

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Emily Grierson is a fierce, stubborn lady who stands strong in her perceptions of family honor, wealth and status in society.  When aldermen come to collect taxes, she refuses to pay, insisting that her family does not pay taxes.  This is based on an age-old rule instituted back in the day when her family was wealthy and the town was in awe of it.  When the aldermen come about the smell, she refuses to open the door.  When people gossip and whisper about Homer Barron, she refuses to stop seeing him.  When her father dies, she refuses to give up the body for severeal days.  Through all of these examples, we see her fierce stubbornness and also her familial pride.  She also lives in an alternate reality, refusing to see things for how they really are.  She refused to admit that her father was dead.  She refused to admit that Homer Barron would not be with her forever.  She refused to admit that her family honor was fading and that she should pay taxes.  She refused to admit that her house smelled as a result of Homer's body.  All of these things show that she had a rather demented idea of what was real and what was not; she was stuck in a fantasy land of her own.

Forces that she stood for are lined up with her perception of reality; she stood up for dating who she wanted, and she stood up for her family's traditions and supposed honor in the town.  She seemed to be against any progress or change, but wanted things to always remain the same as they had while she was a girl in the town.

I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

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mkcapen1 | Student

In the short story "A Rose for Emily" Emily Grierson is a woman who has lived her life in relative isolation.  She once lived a life of prominence and wealth as the daughter of a wealthy influential man.  She was sheltered and probably controlled by her father.  Upon his death she had difficulty accepting his death.  She is proud and defiant of laws that apply to everyone else.  She identifies herself as being above the rest of the people in her town because of her previous social standing.  She is now fairly impoverished evidenced by the decay of her home. 

Emily's physical description changes through the story.  At one time she goes into town to argue the tax bill that she received.  She is described as a short overweight woman.  Although no one in the town has seen her for awhile the reader is aware that she has grey hair because of the hair lying on the pillow next to the skeleton of her lover. 

Emily’s idea that she is above others is also evident in her murder of her lover.  Rather than have him leave her she kills him.  She does not allow people into her home.  There is also some evidence of madness and depression because she lays next to her lover’s corpse.

Miss Emily is a symbol of the aging south and the change that has occurred in the south.  She clings to the past and is the town’s reminder of what was once good in the south that is now gone.


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