Emily Grierson Symbolism

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William Faulker’s gothic tale begins with the death of Emily Grierson, the town’s “fallen monument”. Emily was a symbol of the town’s old southern heritage. As the town progressed forward, Emily Grierson and her, “eyesores among eyesores” of a house kept the town from truly advancing as a post-civil war society. Even as the newer generation came into authority, Emily refused to acknowledge them. This tale is portrayed from the perspective of the disgruntled towns folk as they gather and reminisce about the mystery that is Emily Grierson. The towns people’s scrutiny, gossip and memories of Emily reveal her stubborn, anti-social, and mentally disturbed personalities and uncover, from a third person point of view, who Emily Grierson was.

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Emily Grierson’s father died leaving her isolated. It was with this death that the narrator said, “At least they could pity Miss Emily. Being left alone, and a pauper, she had become humanized.” Having been raised to live on a pedestal higher than everyone else; the tragic death of her father had finally given the townsfolk a reason to pity her and feel sorry for her financial circumstances. While her father’s death may have ‘humanized’ her, Mr. Grierson’s prior actions had formerly sowed the seeds for her reclusive habits. With her sole caretaker and guardian dead before she could marry at the age of thirty, all Emily had left to inherit was the old dreary estate. The house was dark and dank from years of neglect, which suggested it reflected the inert mind of its owner. He also described her figure, as though, “she looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue.” Faulker’s grotesque portrayal of Emily implies that her life, too, was idle. Emily had kin in nearby Alabama, “but years ago her father had fallen out with them…and there was no communication between the two families. “ Mr. Grierson had not only managed to turn Emily into an outsider by severing ties with kin, furthermore, he had ruined her chances at love and marriage by chasing away any suitors. Woeful and heartbroken, Emily took control over her desires at love

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