What was Emily's relationship with her father?
Emily's father is portrayed as a strict, oppressive figure who stifles her ability to grow as a woman by preventing young men from courting her. Throughout the short story, Emily's father has a significant influence on her, which is represented by the crayon portrait of him in front of the fireplace. Emily's relationship with her father is also represented by the tableau of the Grierson family, which depicts her father's silhouette in the foreground, standing with his back to her as he clutches a horsewhip. Throughout her life, Emily submits to her father's will and is profoundly affected by his domineering personality. Her father's overprotective nature prevents her from developing meaningful relationships with people outside of her family, which explains her reclusive nature. Following her father's death, Emily initially refuses to acknowledge that he is dead and rarely leaves her home. As a grown woman, Emily defies the social standards of Jefferson and searches for love by dating Homer Barron, a working-class Yankee. Her fear of losing another loved one results in her decision to kill Homer Barron. Overall, Emily's unstable mental state can be viewed as a result of growing up with a tyrannical father in an oppressive, austere home.
Emily's relationship with her father can be vividly seen in what the narrator describes as "the tableau" they had constructed of her: Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung door." We see in this "tableau" his violence and dominance, and her youthful femininity. He was controlling, refusing her a life of her own or a husband, and he cared little, for in this picture (as the townspeople imagine them) he has his back to her. The image of the horsewhip is particularly disturbing, especially when we consider how violent she was in killing Homer to keep him. One suspects that her father might have, in a similar way, used that horsewhip on her to keep her.
Emily was desperate to please her father, which is why so many suitors went by the wayside. He influenced her actions so much, that after he died she refused to let them take him right away.
Because she missed many chances to marry because of her father's influence, she seemed desperate to hang on to her last chance, Homer.
There is a picture of her father where he is holding a whip which suggests, perhaps, that he was quite a stern man who dictated every facet of her life. She struggles to please him and hold on to everything he represents including the Old South.