How would you describe Miss Emily's character in "A Rose for Emily"?

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Emily was a lady of the old south. She had been protected by her father while he was alive. Thinking that no man was good enough for her, he drove all her gentleman callers away. When her father died, Emily was over thirty years old and discovered that he had left her nothing except the house. Unable to let her father go, she would not let them take him for three days after he died. The townspeople knew there had been insanity in the family, but they would not admit that anything was really wrong with Emily.

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In addition to the sketch of Emily's character given above, Miss Emily Grierson, whose portrait reveals a woman whom Time has passed by, is a woman repressed by the patriarch of her family.  One of the narrators notes,

We had long thought of them as a tableau:  Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the foreground, 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 front door.

So repressed is and sheltered in the life of the Old South's gentry is Emily that, when the old gentleman dies, the townspeople believe that Miss Emily has become humanized as she, too, would "know the old thrill and the old despair of a penny..."  But, when the ladies of the town visit her, they find no trace of grief on her face, and she denies that her father has died. This macabre denial of Emily's continues for three days, even as doctors used their persuasive powers upon her. Finally, she breaks down and allows the authorities to bury her father. Desperately, Miss Emily of the Southern aristocracy has tried to "cling to that which had robbed her, as people will." So, she dresses with the watch and fob of her father on her, a reminder of the many times that her father ran off her gentlemen callers. But, when Homer Barron, a Northerner and a common laborer arrives in town, Emily rides on Sundays with him to the dismay of the older people who remark, "Poor Emily...." Nevertheless, Emily

demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson.

And, when Homer attempts to leave her and take from her this dignity. Emily stops him; she will not be denied. And, so, she dies, dies in her "inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse" world in her house filled with "dust and shadows" with a lonely stand of iron-grey hair upon a second pillow next to the skeletal remains of a man.

Miss Emily Grierson has changed from a repressed, young Southern lady, to a recluse, to a mockery of what she once was, to a ghost. And, it is for this tragic ghost that the author William Faulkner wrote that he named his story "A Rose for Emily" because

here was a woman who had had a tragedy... this was a salute... to a woman you would hand a rose.

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Miss Emily's character in A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner is described in part by the narrator's description of her role in the town:

Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town . . .

She is of the old southern aristocracy, and her character is dominated by pride in her family and class and love for and adherence to Southern tradition, of a sort that was disappearing. As a female, she regarded making a good marriage as part of her role. She saw being jilted as dishonorable, and because honor was a central part of her character, saw murder as less shameful than dishonor.

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What qualities and attitudes define Miss Emily's character and behavior in "A Rose for Emily"?

Emily is from a proud Southern family. Her father is most responsible for shaping her character. He won't allow any men to date his daughter because he thinks none of them are good enough. Her father becomes the only person in her life. When he dies, she's so upset that she won't allow anyone to take his body out of the house for three days. At this point, Emily shuts herself off from the town for most of her life. Then she meets Homer Barron, a Yankee foreman who is paving the streets of the town. He is the only person Emily allows in her life. She takes buggy rides with him, and the town's ladies look down on her for her relationship with Homer. They never marry, and the narrator suggests that Emily is driven to murder because she's afraid Homer will leave her.

Regarding her taxes, Emily's father leaves her without any money, so Colonel Sartoris, the former mayor of the town, decides the town will take on the responsibility of paying her taxes to keep her from being embarrassed. Later in the story, new leaders of the town try to collect taxes from Emily and go to her house. Emily tells the men to talk to Sartoris, who has been dead for almost ten years. She sends the men away and gives them nothing.

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What are the main characteristics of Emily in "A Rose for Emily"?

"Emily is born to a proud, aristocratic family sometime during the Civil War; her life in many ways reflects the disintegration of the Old South during the Reconstruction and the early twentieth century." 

Miss Emily's character can best be described as eccentric, not crazy enough to be in a mental institution, but someone who acts outside the mainstream of thought.  For example, when her father dies, she does not want to bury him, she does not want to let him go even though he is dead. 

Another characteristic that I would attribute to Miss Emily is that of desperation.  She is driven by emotions that cause her to feel desperate.  For example, she begins taking rides in her carriage with Homer Barron, the Yankee who arrives in town to work, but when he informs her that he is not a marrying man, she resorts to desperate measures, she poisons him.

By the time she dies, I would say that Emily has crossed the line from eccentric to mentally unstable.  The proof of this lies in the fact that she has slept next to the corpse of Homer Barron all these years.

Sleeping next to a dead body crosses the line into insanity.   

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What qualities and attitude define Miss Emily's character and behavior in "A Rose for Emily"?

In William Faulkner`s A Rose for Emily, the protagonist, Miss Emily, is defined both in her own behaviour and in the way she is viewed by the older generation in the town, by her patrician background. Class, in this story as in many of Faulkner`s other works, has a major influence on the way people think and act. On the one hand, by virtue of her class, Miss Emily has a sense of entitlement (e.g. not paying taxes), but on the other hand, despite her background giving her a certain authority and freedom of action (she sees no need to pay attention to the opinions of those she considers inferior), her class background constrains her actions, in the types of people with whom she can associate and her sense of what constitutes proper behaviour, so, for example, by the code of her class background, killing an errant lover is not half as improper as taking a regular job in a shop.

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Describe Emily's character qualities in "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner.

William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" is a masterful short story.  Miss Emily Grierson, the protagonist, becomes an icon and celebrity in her home town of Jefferson, Mississippi.  She was a relic from the Old South when ladies were cherished and protected. 

Emily had been protected by her father while he was alive.  Thinking that no man was good enough for her, he drove all her gentleman callers away. When her father died, Emily was over thirty years old  and discovered that he had left her nothing except the house. Unable to let her father go, she would not let them take her father for three days after he died.   

The townspeople knew there had been insanity in the family, but they would not admit that anything was really wrong with Emily. Unfortunately for Emily, her father had left her penniless;  however, Emily had the strength to survive. Of course, she still had Tobe the black servant to help her. 

Two years after her father died, her fiancee deserted her.  Each time one of these tragedies happened to Emily, she would retreat inside her house and not be seen for several months. 

When next Emily was seen, Homer Barron had come to town to help with the construction of the town's sidewalks.  Homer was a yankee and a self-described homosexual.  Still, every Sunday, he and Emily would go for buggy rides. Gossip ran rampant through the town: what were they doing on those buggy rides?

She carried her head high enough--even when we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson...

Insinuating that there was more going on than just buggy rides did not bother EmilyShe was above all of that.   Her cousins came, and they were convinced that Emily and Homer were going to be married.

Homer left for a while. When he was gone, Emily seemed to prepare for the wedding.

We learned that Miss Emily had been to the jeweler's and ordered a man's toilet set in silver, with the letters H. B. on each piece. Two days later she had bought a complete outfit of men's clothing, including a nightshirt.

Surprisingly, Emily buys arsenic and refuses to tell why she needed it. No one needed to know Emily's business. Homer was seen going in the back door of Emily's house and was never seen again.

Next, the neighbors complain about a terrible odor coming from Emily's house. The men of the town sneak around and put lime around her house to get rid of the smell. Emily watches them do it from an upstairs window.

Again, Emily is not seen for a long time.  The new generation of council men come to collect the taxes from her. She is now completely gray haired and heavy. She does not offer the men seats nor does she admit that she owes taxes. Emily refers them to Colonel Satoris who has been dead for several years. 

Emily dies in a downstairs chair at the age of 74.  The cousins bury her two days later.  After the funeral, Tobe lets the women into the house and goes out the back door never to be seen again. The women are there to snoop.  They break down the upstairs bedroom door.  There they find a man's skeleton dressed in a nightshirt. On the pillow next to him is one gray hair.

Emily Grierson found a way to keep her man.  Her father prevented her happiness while he was alive, but how does she survive once he is gone?  Secretive, clever, and insane--those were the qualities that kept Miss Emily going.

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What are some of Emily's characteristics in "A Rose for Emily"?

In "A Rose for Emily," Emily is a complex character, and we can discern several of her important characteristics from Faulkner's descriptions.

One of the first things we learn about Emily is that she is stubborn. After her father dies, town authorities approach her to try to persuade her to pay taxes. However, no matter how much they insist, she refuses, claiming that a former mayor of the town has exempted her from taxation.

Emily is insecure and reclusive. After her father dies, she retreats into her house and stays there, except for a brief interlude during which she goes for buggy rides with Homer Barron. After she kills Barron, she remains in the house for the rest of her life.

Emily is mentally unstable. We see this first when she initially refuses to give up her father's body after he dies. This becomes even more obvious when we learn that she has killed Barron, presumably because he was going to break up with her and move away.

Emily is murderous. Most women, of course, would be sad and depressed if their boyfriend announced his intention to leave. However, they would not resort to killing him and then sleeping with his dead body.

Finally, Emily is proud and duplicitous. She covers up the murder she has committed with an attitude of haughtiness.

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