Emily Grierson's Death

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In William Faulkner’s short story, “A Rose for Emily,” there are at least three different types of death symbolized: the death of the traditional ways of the Old South, the death of her family’s societal status, and the physical deaths of her loved ones. The main character, Emily Grierson, is in complete denial of all three. She is desperate to avoid death of any kind, and she allows herself to lose her grip on the reality of the changing world around her. Whether this denial stems from an abusive father and daughter relationship, or the mental illness that runs in her family, Emily’s actions and reactions to life events are quite morbid.
As the old, southern Mississippian ways were quickly dying out, Miss Emily refused to believe or adhere
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It was difficult to imagine life any other way. So when her father died, Miss Emily would not accept the fact that he had deserted her. She denied to the townspeople that he was even dead. In fact, as his body lay dead in their home, some women brought food to express their sympathy. When “Emily met them at the door, she was dressed as usual with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead.” After three days of this denial of his death continued, she finally allowed them to take the body and bury it. After several months of depression and loneliness following her father’s death, Emily began riding around town in a buggy with a new friend, a day laborer named Homer Barron. But when Emily found out Homer was not interested in marriage, she lured him to her house, kidnapped and poisoned him. This time, however, she would not allow the townspeople to take the body of her loved one from the house again. In denial of the significance of physical death, she continued a morbid relationship for several decades with the corpse. Even when the odor from the rotting body signaled some of the townspeople to report the stench, Miss Emily just went about her business as usual. This gruesome act proved that she had lost her grip on reality. She would prefer to live the next thirty or so years in a house of death rather than risk the return of that feeling of desertion she felt when her father
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