Character analysis of Miss Emily Grierson


Miss Emily is a lonely lady who dies at an age of seventy-four. She has lived alone since her father died when she was in her thirties. Having never been married or never known to have siblings, she has lived her younger life with her father and life after thirty alone. This is with the exclusion of her black servant who doubles as her cook and gardener.

Character Analysis

Emily is a stern lady who holds her ego highly and would never be quavered by pressure from other people. When the new generation personnel go to her house to demand for taxes, she strongly declares that she owed Jefferson (her town) no taxes. She even directs them to go to Colonel Sartoris and ask about her tax status, yet the colonel had been dead for over ten years (Faulkner 2). Also, her sternness is seen when she goes to the druggist shop where she declines to explain to the druggist how she was going to use the arsenic. She refuses to explain and gives the druggist a stern look that warns him and commands him to give away the poison without further questions. Miss Emily walks with Homer Barron openly amid criticisms from the town clergy. Though there is a lot of pressure from the society that she was showing bad behavior to the youth in Jefferson by walking with him, she does not cow and repeats the same thing the day that follows.

She is a conservative lady who upholds the ancient values. After her father’s death, she keeps the house standing for over forty years despite the rest of the neighborhood getting destroyed. The streets and neighborhood changes, yet she retains her compound as her father left it (Faulkner 1). Her conservative nature has also been shown by the way she follows her father strictly. By thirties, she has not allowed herself to get into any romantic relationship as per the father’s guidance. This exclusion from men results into her miserable lonely life.

Miss Emily is a bold woman, with the audacity to kill in her thirties. The person she killed was perceived to be her suitor by the people in her village. No one expects her to kill Homer Barron who she had been going out with. The villagers think that this man would finally marry Miss Emily. Contrary to that, she kills him and leaves him to rot on a bed, locks up the upper room where he lay; dead. She then continues to live in the same house with a corpse. Her bold character can also be seen when she tries to deny that her father was dead and continues to live with a corpse in the same house. It takes a lot of pressure for her to allow the clergy to burry her father. Her bold character is also seen when she walks romantically with Homer Barron openly amid criticisms from the town clergy (Faulkner 4). Though there is a lot of pressure from the society that she was showing bad behavior to the youth in Jefferson by walking with him, she does not cow and repeats the same thing the day that follows.

During her last days alive, Miss Emily lied beside a corpse. She even tries to pass a message to the mourners that she was also human and was not as heartless as they think about her. She lies beside the body of Homer Barron and does not even feel the smell and dust around the dead man. She even leaves a hair strand that suggests that she lied there at her old age when her hair has already turned to that grey color. The rest of the room is very dusty and she touches nothing else but sleeps alongside the dead man. It shows that she is a woman who feels that she needs love from the people around her and she passes a message that she did not get the love she desired to get.

The act of buying a suit and a pair of shoes, together with a toilet wear for Homer Barron shows that she is a caring woman. Further, she houses him and provides everything for him. Her caring character is also depicted when she teaches other peoplethe art of china painting (Robinette 7).Further, she keeps the same employee for over forty years showing that she was not a bad employer and took good care of her servant. Had she been a bad and uncaring employer, Tobe would have left her a long time before her death.

She is a scheming lady who takes time to execute her plans. First, we see her planning to kill someone which she takes sometime to execute. When she finally executes her plan, no one could conclude that she had killed Barron until she died. When she goes to a druggist store, she asks for arsenic in a scheme to make a killing (Faulkner 6). She has a plan to kill and she takes her time before acting. She buys the poison and stays for a long time waiting for her convenient time to come. When it finally comes, it is Homer Barron who is the victim of the poison. In preparation for her death also, she leaves a hair strand beside Homer Barron’s corpse in order for the people to understand the sort of a person she was. This is a scheme to eliminate people’s perception about her.

Several things show her reticence. First, she keeps her doors closed and rarely goes out. Everything is confined in her house and no one ever gets into her house. She even kills Homer Barron yet no one knows what happens inside the house. When her father died, she even tried to conceal that fact and it took the intervention of many influential people for her to accept people to take her father’s body for a burial (Robinette 5).

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