In the story "A Rose For Emily" by William Faulkner what can one infer about Emily's father and about his relationship with her?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emily's father is a symbol of the old south, he is a patriarch, a man in charge of both his home and his family.  A proud Southerner, dignified and stately, believing himself to be superior to everyone.  He dominated Emily's life when he was alive. 

He so controlled her life that he dismissed all suitors, men interested in courting her with the intent to marry, because he found them beneath her socially  He decided to reject all the men who could have possibly become Miss Emily's husband.  Therefore leaving her alone, once he died.  She is left with nothing to hold onto emotionally except his dead body which she refuses to bury for three days.

It appears that when her father dies, Emily does not know what to do without him.  She can't bear to part with him even in death.  She is frightened by the thought of life without her father.  When someone is controlled and told what to do all their life, they forget how to make their own decisions.  Miss Emily goes a little insane thanks to her father's crushing control over her all her life.  


missjulie9785 | Student

It is also suggested that perhaps Emily and her father had an incestuous relationship (not by Emily's choice, of course), which could be another reason why her father had turned away so many men who were interested in marrying her. I say this because of several hints in the story, such as his controlling behaviour and from the details of the portrait of Emily and her father, as well as her unusual attachment to him, despite the way he acted like a tyrant (this was all brought up in my English Lit. course in college last semester).

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A Rose for Emily

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