How does Miss Emily behave after her father dies?
In A Rose for Emily, we are shown a young lady who is slowly losing her grip on reality. Emily was so sheltered by her father that she never knew how to accept reality. Her father handled everything and made sure he was in control. Emily was not involved in any of the daily business life. Her father also ran off any man that might have been interested in Emily. It was really unfair the way her father treated her. He took away Emily's chances for a normal and happy life, so when he died, Emily was left not knowing what to do.
The day after his death all the ladies prepared to call at the house and offer condolence and aid, as is our custom. Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did for this for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body. Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down and they buried her father quickly.
We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.
As we read the story farther, we realize that Emily has no grip on reality anymore. Can we blame that on the loss of her father? Or did Emily have this loss of empathy in her all along, and her father knew it? These are questions we will have to ask ourselves and only guess upon.
Miss Emily and her father in this story represent the Old South, with its rigid aristocratic traditions of propriety. Part of the mythos associated with this culture had to do with aristocratic families having enough wealth to live a certain circumscribed lifestyle that was an essential part of their dignity. When her father dies, Miss Emily is left with the house but with almost no money. Because her father has dismissed her suitors, she remains single despite her beauty and is now above the normal age for marriage in her society; even worse, their are no prospective husbands left of the proper class. Her father's death means to her the death of her life and identity.
Her first response is denial. She refuses even to admit that he is dead:
The day after his death all the ladies prepared to call at the house ... Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, ...
Next, she moves on from denial to grieving:
Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly.
She never fully recovers from the death of her father, though, and becomes a recluse. She is next described as becoming "sick" for several months, something we would probably now describe as depression.
Miss Emily was very different. She never was able to date or to make any decisions for herself. Her father did that all for her and didn't believe that any man was "good enough" for his daughter. Because he controlled her life in so many aspects, she grew up completely dependent on him. When he died, she literally "freaked"--she didn't let them even take the body away until 3 days had passed. They thought she was just clinging to the only life she had. She never went out, and she was a complete recluse.
"The day after his death all the ladies prepared to call at the house and offer condolence and aid, as is our custom Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days."