A Rose For Emily: Was Emily Actually Insane

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily, ” is a tale about Emily Grierson an elderly woman who was unloved and unwanted by almost everyone. Emily had the distinct urge to control the world around her, and this is a main theme throughout the story. Emily was controlled by her father for quite some time. No suitor seemed to live up to his standards, and as a result Emily became an old maid. This most likely caused some mental issues for her, and some resentment toward her father. After Mr. Grierson passed away it was Emily’s turn to be in control. She kept his body for several days and would not allow him to be buried. This was her way of taking control of her life back, and also taking control of her father as well. Emily also exerts her control by refusing to pay her taxes. She goes so far as to refuse letting metal numbers be placed on her house for the mail to be delivered. Her tax bill are left unclaimed at the post office. Emily also flaunts this control when she goes to buy poison. The druggist tells her that it is a law when buying poison that she must state what she is going to do with it. Emily refuses, and many come under the assumption that she will kill herself.

When Homer Barron comes to town, he is an outsider like Emily. Unlike Emily, however, he is very charming and captures the attention of many. Homer spends much time with Emily, and they are seen going out on Sundays. This brings much gossip through the town because even though Emily is ostracized, the townsfolk feel that her social class is too good for the likes of Homer Barron. There is also talk that Homer is a homosexual. He spends time at the Elk’s club drinking with younger men and states that he is, “not a marrying man” ( Barnet, Burto & Cain, 2011). When Emily passes away, her final pull for control becomes evident. The townspeople find Homer’s long dead body lying in a bed, the pillow next to him has an impression in it, as though someone has been lying next to him. Upon that pillow, they find a strand of Emily’s grey hair. Perhaps Homer was going to leave her because he was a homosexual. Maybe he was not, and just did not wish to settle down and marry Emily. Whatever the reason, Emily felt herself losing control of the situation, and this is something that she just could not do.

For Emily, control was the only thing that she had left. Emily, trying to regain her control poisons Homer so that he cannot leave her. People have been leaving Emily her whole life, and she probably longs for someone to just stay, and love her. She then begins many years as a necrophiliac. Necrophilia is the sexual attraction to a corpse, or dead body. This was for Emily, a very powerful way to gain control over Homer. She could then have a relationship with him, without him having free will or being able to resist her. She could not find any other way to have Homer as her own, so in the end she resorted to the most permanent way of keeping him as her own.

Faulkner was trying to convey in this story the need for everyone to be loved and in control of their own lives. It is a very powerful feeling to be unloved, and unwanted. It can make people do crazy things that they may have not normally done. It could be inferred that Emily Grieron was insane, but was she really? It is hard to determine such a thing unless one has been in her shoes. Perhaps all people would react the way she did if the circumstances were the same. Love and control are both very powerful things. They both cause great emotions, and may also cause people to react harshly, even so harshly that they will murder, and then sleep with dead and severely decomposed bodies in their free time.


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