Emily Grierson’s relationship with her father contributed to her tragedy in the short story “A Rose for Emily.” Miss Emily Grierson died at the age of seventy-four in one of the rooms downstairs in her house. By the time of her death, she was living with a Negro man (Tobe) who did grocery shopping for her and served as a gardener. Moreover, Emily Grierson did not get married. Her father had directly contributed to this since he used to chase away all the boys who came to see Emily. Moreover, she rarely left the house and the closest relatives she has are her two meddling female cousins. Emily had been a proud and loyal daughter to her father who made life choices and decisions for her to the extent of not only scaring off potential suitors but also separating Emily from the rest of the town. He did not want Emily to get married to a man of lower social class since she came from an aristocratic class. According to Faulkner, the town’s people of Jefferson not only approve of but also seem to protect and uphold such rigid adherence to their old traditions (1958). Now and then, the town’s people would see her in one of the downstairs windows looking or not looking at them, they could never tell which. This statement indicates that after the demise of her father and the disappearance of Homer Barron, Miss Emily became an introvert who kept to herself most of the time.
When Miss Emily’s father passed away, the only thing that he left her was the house, which made the neighbors glad. It made them glad because they finally had the opportunity to pity Miss Emily. Her father was the only family member she was close to and his death left her all alone and a pauper. Even though Emily Grierson had some relatives in Alabama, they had not interacted in years. The reason being a dispute Emily’s father had with his relatives over old lady Wyatt’s’ property. Since the dispute, the two parties have not communicated.
They neither attended nor sent a representative to the funeral. According to this statement, the disagreement between Emily’s father and his kinsfolks over the estate of Lady Wyatt destroyed the relationship between the two parties. Even though Emily was not involved in this situation directly, she was her father’s daughter, a Grierson, which meant she had to be alienated in the same manner as her father. Moreover, her father was the closest semblance of family she had known and after his death, Emily became introverted. She would stay in the house and had a Negro (Tobe) who would not only do grocery shopping for her but also tend to her garden. During that period; women faced social repression, which was instigated by the males. For instance, Emily’s father advertently chased away her suitors, which in a way contributed to Emily not getting married This affected her during her whole life since she never managed to get married even after the demise of her father.
A day after Emily’s father had passed away, the neighborhood women decided to visit Emily’s house to extend their condolences and aid. When they arrived at the house, they were shocked to find Miss Emily, dresses as usual with no grief showing in her face. It was as if her father was not died.
She told them that her father had not passed away. She was in denial and had not yet come to terms with the demise of her father. It took her three days and the threats of ministers and doctors for her to agree to bury her father. They had to threaten her using the law and force to get her to bury her father quickly. The death of her father affected Emily both emotionally and psychologically. She never quite recovered from the blow of losing her father. The code of conduct enforced on her by the Jefferson patriarchs did not bode well with Emily. It is no wonder that Miss Emily attempts to take her own life given how pre-determined the course of her life had been. No one except an old male servant who served as both a gardener and cook had seen the house in at least ten years. Neither her relatives nor friends visited her house. This is an indication that Miss Emily Grierson spent most of her time alone in the house until she died.
Nobody, not even her neighbors knew that Miss Emily was ill. The only person who could have known was the Negro (Tobe) but he rarely talked to anyone.
Upon receiving notice of Emily Grierson’s death, the two female cousins came immediately and her funeral was held on the second day. Miss Emily was not buried in her customary home Instead, she was buried in the cemetery where the graves of not only Confederate and Union soldiers lay but also unidentified graves
There was a room in Miss Emily’s house, which no one had seen in forty years. After her burial and out of curiosity, the town’s residents decided to take matters into their own hands by breaking the door down. Upon breaking the door, they were shocked by what they saw. On the bed lay the body of a dead man. Moreover, on the dressing table lay the man’s toilet things backed with tarnished silver, a collar & tie, a suit, shoes, and discarded socks. Sometime before Miss Emily passed away, she had passed by the jewelers and made an order of a man’s toilet, engraved with the initials H.B. Moreover, she requested it to be made out of silver. The initials The initials stand for Homer Barron who was a foreman at a construction company tasked with paving the sidewalks. The two had met the summer after the death of Emily’s father and were frequently seen together on Sunday afternoons driving around in a yellow-wheeled buggy. At some point, even the neighbors started to think that the two would get married. This was not to be the case because after completing the construction of pavements in Jefferson, Homer Barron disappeared. Allegedly, the last time he was spotted in Jefferson was when he was being let in by the Negro through the kitchen door of Miss Emily’s house.
The relationship Emily Grierson had with her father tremendously contributed to her tragedy. Not only did he chase away her suitors when he was still alive but also ruined the relationship the Griersons had with their kin over a dispute for old Lady Wyatt’s estate.
Faulkner, William, Josef Schwarz, and Zdenek Urbanek. A Rose for Emily. Paderborn, De: Verlag F. Schoningh, 1958.