Did Emily deserve the treatment she received from the townspeople?Emily is respected because of her southern background and father, but she is also isolated from the townspeople that caused her to...

Did Emily deserve the treatment she received from the townspeople?

Emily is respected because of her southern background and father, but she is also isolated from the townspeople that caused her to act the way she did. so its kind of no and yes.

Asked on by ct122592

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think her treatment is more a result of the conditions that existed in Southern towns at the time the story takes place. That's one of the things that Faulkner wants to point out. Here was a very troubled woman whose father had controlled her life completely. She had not been allowed to marry during his lifetime and when he died, she was left with nothing but a big house and little money. Southern tradition dictated that she be treated with respect and that's what people believed they were doing. The townspeople were not consciously trying to isolate her. But their traditions and customs were isolating to someone like Emily. She also must have believed in these traditions or she would have mingled more with the community. So Faulkner is pointing out how stifling southern traditional life can be. I think it is unfair to judge the townspeople or Emily without looking at the traditions they had been taught and the setting in which the story takes place.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

This is a good question for the discussion board.

I think you need to take a closer look at the story. Is it really her isolation from the townsfolk that make her behave the way she does, or is she isolated because of the way she behaves? My answer is the latter. She doesn't want company. If she did, she wouldn't make it so difficult for people to visit her. Remember the poor old Baptist preacher who refused to go back and see her again. She has no desire to live in the modern world. Her house has become an eyesore in the community because it is old and rundown, but she is too set in her ways to make a change. Everything around her is aging and turning to dust, and that seems to be just the way she wants it.

Do the townspeople really respect her for her heritage? Or do they think she's the crazy old lady on the corner?  You might want to consider whether the townspeople deserve having to put up with her eccentricities for so long!

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