How can love effect man's judgement in "A Rose for Emily" ?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wow. That's an interesting question because I'm not sure whether it was love,pity or paternalism  that drove the men in "A Rose for Emily." The first man in Emily's life was her father. He refused to allow her to marry and dominated her life until he was dead. To me, this seems an old-fashioned way of controlling his daughter---not necessarily love. When Colonel Sartoris remitted Emily's taxes, this seems to be an act of both pity and paternalism. He knows she came from a respected family and her father left he no money, so he "took care of her" by not making her pay taxes and therefore, not allowing her to take a job or anything that would bring her into contact with other people. In the end, this may have hurt Emily more than it helped her. As for Homer Barron, I'm not sure he ever really loved Emily. After all, "he liked men" and the townspeople all remark on how Emily has to "convince" him. In the end, it seems like Emily invited Homer over for one last dinner. He had been gone for some time and probably came over out of a sense of pity for her. That's when she decided to poison him. So, I'm not sure if Faulkener is commenting more on the sense of duty, paternalism and pity men might have felt for Emily rather than actual love.

troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It appears from the beginning that Emily's father is very controlling.  However, it can be looked at as if he loves her so much that he truly believes that no one is good enough for his daughter.  This fatherly love affects her life and completely changes who she becomes because he dies, leaving her nothing, and without any man to take care of her.  His love for her clouded his judgement and she was left alone to suffer (and go crazy).

Homer, on the other hand, should have seen the signs. But she drew him in, and he fell for her.  When he was out of town, she purchased the arsenic and he could do nothing about it.  She had it planned in her mind that he'd never leave her.  He never should have told her that.  He could have easily just used her and left.  Instead, love clouded his vision as well, and he wasn't able to see her insanity.

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A Rose for Emily

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