Who is the author describing when he writes "dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse" in Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"?

In "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner is describing the character of Emily Grierson when he writes "dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse." Emily embodies all of these descriptions in her own way. For example, Emily is "impervious" in that she cannot be persuaded to behave in a certain "acceptable" way with Homer Barron. At the same time, she is "tranquil" in maintaining the appearance of composure.

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Close to the end of "A Rose for Emily," just before returning to the point of her death, with which the story opened, the narrator describes her as she grew old:

Thus she passed from generation to generation—dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.

The piling of epithet upon epithet has something of the gothic extravagance of Emily 's house, particularly as they appear at first glance to be a collection of verbal oddments, as ill-assorted as the "cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies" are in architectural terms. We can see quite clearly that Emily is both impervious and perverse ("perverse," that is, in the sense of being stubborn: other forms of perversity are revealed after her death). Even "tranquil" seems a reasonable description if we apply it to the surface composure which the townspeople see by rare glimpses, rather than what we surmise about her actual state of mind. "Dear" and "inescapable," however, are more obscure terms. Emily is dear to no one, while a hermit...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 847 words.)

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