What are the main characteristics of Emily in "A Rose for Emily"?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Emily is born to a proud, aristocratic family sometime during the Civil War; her life in many ways reflects the disintegration of the Old South during the Reconstruction and the early twentieth century." 

Miss Emily's character can best be described as eccentric, not crazy enough to be in a mental institution, but someone who acts outside the mainstream of thought.  For example, when her father dies, she does not want to bury him, she does not want to let him go even though he is dead. 

Another characteristic that I would attribute to Miss Emily is that of desperation.  She is driven by emotions that cause her to feel desperate.  For example, she begins taking rides in her carriage with Homer Barron, the Yankee who arrives in town to work, but when he informs her that he is not a marrying man, she resorts to desperate measures, she poisons him.

By the time she dies, I would say that Emily has crossed the line from eccentric to mentally unstable.  The proof of this lies in the fact that she has slept next to the corpse of Homer Barron all these years.

Sleeping next to a dead body crosses the line into insanity.   

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A Rose for Emily

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