What are the key ideas which support Emily's being a product of her enviroment in William Faulkner's "A Rose For Emily "?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emily's being a product of her environment in "A Rose for Emily" is symbolized by the Grierson house:  It was once magnificent, "select," but after the cottin gins and wagons come,only Miss Emily's house remains, "lifting its subborn and coquettish decay." Like the house in "decay," Emily is described as a "tradition," a lady who believes the words of gentlemen, such as General Sartoris and her father, who say she owes no taxes.

Despite the abolition of slavery, Emily retains an "old Negro" as her servant. Entrenched in her belief, she dismisses the aldermen when they come to collect taxes "...just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before...."  After citizens complain of the smell from Miss Emily's house, the judge asks, "will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?" indicating that Emily is still held in a high social position.  People feel that her behavior confirms insanity in the family since her great-aunt had "gone... crazy." In a sort of tableau Miss Emily is placed by the town: a white silhouette in the foreground; her father "a spraddled silhouette, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip..." 

Later since Emily cannot accept loss of social and economic status, the relationship with Homer is doomed; thus, her actions reflect the dissolution of her world.

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A Rose for Emily

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