What are four of the most striking characteristics of Miss Emily in "A Rose for Emily"?And what part in the story best demonstrates these characteristics?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

NECROPHILIAC TENDENCY.  The surprising resting place of Homer Barron was not the first instance of Emily's handling of the bodies of men who were close to her. She had also held on to her father's corpse for several days until forced to surrender it by the authorities (though there is no evidence of sexual misconduct in this case).

IMPERIOUS ATTITUDE.  Miss Emily's unfriendly and haughty behavior always seemed to indicate that she considered herself better than the other residents of Jefferson.

HAIR.  Emily's hair is mentioned often--long, short, graying, iron-gray--and it becomes even more significant in the final scene.

ISOLATION FROM SOCIETY.  Emily was never a social butterfly, but her withdrawal into the hidden sanctity of her home confounded her neighbors. Rarely seen after Homer's disappearance, her decision to hide inside becomes more understandable in the final scene.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most of the descriptions about Emily Grierson as well as that of her estate are provided at the beginning of the story, namely the first 40 pages of the story. First, Emily is described as a woman with a voice "harsh and rusty as if from disuse" which is pretty stricking considering she is supposed to be a little old lady. She is also compared to “an idol in a niche . . . dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse” in response to her eccentric and reclusive behavior. Those would be striking characteristics considering she is also described as short, pudgy, small-mouth, and with an aristocratic temperance. Hence, these previous two descriptors are quite surprising considering that they lead to the ultimate shock, which is that Emily is capable of murder and of living with a dead body.

Read the study guide:
A Rose for Emily

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question