Emily Grierson Character Analysis

Miss Emily Grierson is the main character of William Faulkner’s short story A Rose for Emily. From the beginning of the story the reader can tell that Miss Emily is obviously very strange, and she only appears to be more bizarre as the story progresses. She is a southern woman in the 1930’s from an aristocratic family. She was from a family of stature and wealth, and was burdened with the great expectations that her family and community had of her. The townspeople never said she was crazy, and she was never diagnosed by a professional, but her erratic behavior does make the reader wonder if there was something truly wrong with her. In fact, Miss Emily’s behaviors throughout the story could help prove that she did in fact suffer from schizophrenia as defined by the National Institute of Mental Health.

When Miss Emily’s father dies, he leaves her all alone. This is truly when the reader begins to observe the acceleration of her mental decline. Miss Emily’s father was a strict man, so it seemed. “None of the boys were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such” (Faulkner 1000). Her father seemed to have run off every man that had ever tried to date Miss Emily, leaving her single well into her thirties. Her father was said to have “thwarted her woman’s life so many times before” (Faulkner 1001).

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Right after her father’s death, woman came to Emily’s home to offer their condolences. Miss Emily welcomed them “with no trace of grief on her face” (Faulkner 1000). Miss Emily had the inability to demonstrate appropriate emotion, this is congruent to one of the classic symptoms of schizophrenia (National Institute of Mental Health). Stranger than that, Miss Emily insisted that “her father was not dead” and she refused to let anyone remove the corpse of her father from her home for three days (Faulkner 1000). But the townspeople didn’t say she was crazy because they knew her father was all she had in the world! ?…