What does the story "A Rose for Emily" reveal about human nature?

Some points about human nature that emerge from "A Rose for Emily" are how difficult it is to know what others are really thinking and feeling, how someone who leads a privileged existence can come to see herself as being above the law, and how someone who is confident of her own superiority can make others accept it and treat her with deference.

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"A Rose for Emily" has various revelations about human nature for the reader, most of them pertaining to Emily herself. The people of Jefferson have tended to regard Miss Emily as a strange, eccentric, but fairly harmless old woman. They think they know her because she is an insider and an aristocrat in a closed and hierarchical society. At the end, the story reveals that one cannot know what is going on in someone's mind by observing appearances. Miss Emily was able to keep the bizarre, gothic conclusion of her affair with Homer Barron secret from everyone until after her death.

The story also shows the effect of lifelong privilege and entitlement on the character. Miss Emily has been indulged and treated with deference all her life, and this leads her to think she is above the law. The episode at the beginning of the story when she refuses to pay taxes, confident that she does not have to do so because of an arrangement between her father and Colonel Sartoris, foreshadows the revelation that she has also broken more serious laws.

This revelation about Miss Emily's nature, however, is paralleled by what the reader learns of the townspeople. Far from resenting Miss Emily's delusions of grandeur, the townspeople submit meekly to her arrogant behavior. The deferential way in which the druggist treats her when she goes to buy rat poison shows that he also accepts that the law does not apply to her in the same way as it does to others. If one shows confidence in asserting authority and superiority, Faulkner suggests, most people will accept this without question, even if there is no logical or legal reason for them to do so.

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