Faulkners “A Rose for Emily,” has a protagonist of great strength in Emily Grierson. Emily is an institution in the town. She is invincible and stands firm in her determination to live life on her own terms. As one of “the high and mighty Griersons,” (II, 16) she expects privilege as her right. She is impervious to public opinion and firmly declines to pay her taxes. “I have no taxes in Jefferson,” (I, 8) she declares unequivocally and makes the town officials concede defeat. She adheres to her own dissonant reality. She refuses to accept her father’s death: “She told them that her father was not dead” (II, 27). She remains deaf to any point of view except her own and accepts “the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson” (III, 33) as her right. Her demands are couched in terms which brook no denial. The druggist is forced by the very strength of her will to sell her arsenic. She persists in courting Homer Barron, “with her head high,” (IV, 43) caring a fig for the town’s opinion. This obstinate determination to always have her way is the characteristic trait in Emily’s personality. She does not take ‘no’ for an answer from anyone. Viewed in this light, her murder of Homer Barron is very much in keeping with her personality: “dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse” (IV, 51). She refuses to let Homer go, and is ready to kill him to keep him with her.
Emily’s murder of Homer is foreshadowed by Faulkner’s description of the bad smell which develops in the house shortly after Homer’s desertion. The reader’s suspicion is further strengthened by Emily buying poison, declaring “I want arsenic” (III, 40), and refusing to give any reason for her demand. Her life of solitude, shunning everyone, is another indication that she has something to hide: “The front door closed — and remained closed for good” (IV, 50). She lives in her own world. She shuts up the top floor of her house. In the light of all this evidence, and the author’s delineation of Emily’s headstrong character, I definitely anticipated the ending in Faulkners “A Rose for Emily.”
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” Retrieved from