Emily Grierson in William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" is a symbol for the dual nature of the American south as both victimizer and victim during the Civil War.
After hearing the tragic story of Ms. Emily's life, upbringing and death it's hard not to pity her. Even after learning the true fate of Homer Barron, blaming Emily for her deeds seems somehow just out of reach. Emily faced a lifetime of solitude, living out the dying glory of her once proud name. While this certianly doesnt excuse murder, it does serve to put the act in a less malicious context, once we see that Ms. Emily was alone largely due to her fathers sense of pride. In her? Perhaps, but more likely pride in his name and the tradition that it represented. Though rich in pride, it can be assumed that Mr. Grierson wasn't so well off financially speaking. At least not so well off that his daughter would be in any way taken care of after his death. While the story never says how the grierson family fortune was lost. It does imply that at one point there was a fortune. Emily's dreary home, once grand, though now in disrepair, as well as her genteel, if meloncholy manner imply that she was brought up in aristcratic surroundings. It can be assumed given the time and implications of the story, the Griersons suffered financial ruin, like so many other families on the cotton belt, due to the destruction of the Confederacy at the end of the Civil War.
"The southern farmers commenced life anew under many and disheartening disadvantages. Not a few were well advanced in years, and had large families. There was mourning throughout the Southland. The gloom was appaling and the people were poor. Those that had something left were ill-epuipped to help their poorer neighbors."(Otken)
Emily's isolation is undoubtedly at the core of any mental problems she may have. By the time We, the reader, discover the mouldering body of Homer Barron in a sealed upstairs bedroom, all the pieces to why and how he got...