What are Emily's psychologies about death and love in "A Rose for Emily."

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Long after her father's death, Emily continues to live in his world, the world of the Old South.  She continues to behave according to the mores of this era:  She does not invite those beneath her social status to come in and sit, she is "a tradition," retaining a Negro servant and dressing in old-fashioned clothing. She insists that she has no taxes because her father had made an agreement.  Miss Emily has her father's death frozen into a time and tradition that she refuses to relinquish, telling the ministers "her father was not dead" when they call upon her.

Likewise, Emily freezes Homer Barron in time.  However, this time she must effect the stopping by poisoning the man. Just as she denied her father's death knowing she would have nothing left and she would have "to cling to that which had robbed her...," so,too, does Emily cling to Homer who has robbed her of her pride and social status.  When he makes an effort to leave her, Emily poisons him, thus "clinging to that which had robbed her" by stopping Homer in a grotesque manner, preventing time from stealing her lover and bringing her indignity.  By denying her father's death and by stopping Homer's life, Emily hopes to retain the world to which she clings: 

Then we knew that this was to be expected...as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman's life so many times had been too virulent and too furious to die.

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A Rose for Emily

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