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Without a doubt, Emily suffered from loneliness, and her father’s restrictions on her life helped cause this.  These restrictions, however, were part of the ideologies of the traditional south that gave white men power over white women and all blacks, and indeed her father was a powerful man.  The narrator...

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Without a doubt, Emily suffered from loneliness, and her father’s restrictions on her life helped cause this.  These restrictions, however, were part of the ideologies of the traditional south that gave white men power over white women and all blacks, and indeed her father was a powerful man.  The narrator describes Emily’s relationship to him through a very strong image:  “We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door.”  She is described as being very vulnerable and feminine yet privileged by virtue of her class, while he, holding his horsewhip, his legs spread wide in a posture of command, appears almost sadistic in comparison.  It is for this reason—the traditions of gender roles and racism of the old south—that Faulkner takes away the Miss from her name at the end of the story. In doing so, he frees her from the past, giving her a modicum of respect and power in her death.

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Emily is so sheltered by her father that she becomes a lonely girl who turns into a lonely woman. After his death, Emily is alone, left without any money from her father and no one to share her life with. She won't allow anyone to take her father's body from the house at first because she can't stand the thought of having no one in her life. She mostly shuts herself off from the town, living a lonely life in the house she shared with her father. When she meets Homer Barron, she parades him in front of the town, causing the women to gossip about her. When she dies, and Homer's body is found alongside a strand of gray hair, we know that she killed him. Perhaps he had threatened to leave her, and she couldn't bear being alone again. By killing him, he stays with her forever.

Emily shows us how important it is to have family and friends who care about us. The older she got, the more she lived in the past. The smells that come from her house represent her sad, lonely life. The rose symbolizes her life and death and also the death of Homer. He's found all dried out and preserved in the room in the attic.

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