What are the neighbors complaining about in "A Rose for Emily"? 

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mperez-mugg21 | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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In Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily," Miss Emily's neighbors become increasingly concerned about a number of Miss Emily's bizarre lifestyle choices.  For example, the neighbors become increasingly aware that Miss Emily is strange when she attempts to prevent the townspeople from removing her dead father's body from their home.  Further, people become increasingly aware that Miss Emily is evolving into a strange character when she becomes more and more reclusive, refusing to interact with her neighbors in any way and spending most of her time with a male servant.  However, neighbors become most concerned with Miss Emily when her home starts to emit a strange stench.  The odor becomes so strong as to alarm the townspeople and they come together to have a meeting regarding the smell.  None of the community members are comfortable confronting Miss Emily about the strange smell; instead the men of the town creep into her yard and spread lye around the outside to rid the town of the smell.  This strange scent is representative of Miss Emily's inability to fit into the town any longer.  Moreover, because Miss Emily serves as a symbol of resistance to social change in the story, this grotesque and eerie element surrounding Miss Emily is suggestive of the moral decay that occurs when one is obstinate to social change.

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