External Conflict In A Rose For Emily

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William Faulkner’s short story, “A Rose for Emily,” is a Southern Gothic tale published in 1930, and set in the fictional city of Jefferson, Mississippi. Emily Grierson, first introduced in the story by the occurrence of her tragic death, is characterized throughout the story by the narrator’s recollection of her quirky mannerisms. Tobe, Emily’s personal cook, gardener, and housekeeper, is the only person to regularly see her and the house. Homer Barron, who becomes important later in the story, is the first and only person to forge a relationship with Emily after her father’s death. Another important character is Emily’s father, Mr. Grierson. Consequently, Mr. Grierson’s strict actions from the past continue to negatively affect Emily’s relationships. …show more content…
Faulkner demonstrates Emily’s stubborn and difficult personality in a few specific encounters that the narrator recounts in memory of her passing. First, the previous mayor, Colonel Sartoris, “Invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily’s father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying,” this arrangement remits Emily’s taxes (Faulkner 1). Sartoris was the first person to take pity on Emily after her father’s death; and although, Emily did not accept charity, Sartoris made the arrangement appear as though it was courtesy instead of charity. After Sartoris’s death and a new mayor was elected, they disregarded the arrangement made regarding Emily’s taxes, and sent her a tax notice in the beginning of the year. The Board of Alderman, who handled taxes and other town matters, made many attempts to contact Emily and have her come into town to discuss the matter. Miss Emily replied to the men “that she no longer went out at all” (Faulkner 1). Eventually, the Board of Alderman became the first people to visit Emily in about ten years. The confrontation did not last long, and no matter what they argued, Miss Emily simply responded, “’I have no taxes in Jefferson’” (Faulkner 2). This meeting between the Board and Emily ended with the men being escorted from the house by Tobe. Another conflict depicted in the story is between Emily and her father; Mr. Grierson was mentally abusive, and his stringent principles causes Emily to shut herself out of society. Emily’s father did not allow any men to see or become romantically involved with her. When Mr. Grierson died, the townspeople “remembered all the young men [Emily’s] father had driven away, and [they] knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (Faulkner 4). Emily struggles later in life to

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