A Rose for Emily: The Social Building And Construction of Psychosis
“A Rose for Emily” is a narrative composed by William Faulkner, an American author and poet from the state of Mississippi (admired as the innovator of the so-called “stream of consciousness strategy in fiction– granted the Nobel Reward for Literature in 1949). This is a recount of the story of an eccentric, Emily Grierson.
According to some people in the town, Emily was controlled and manipulated by her daddy. She considered his daddy an unique individual as kept in mind in her father’s funeral service, where for 3 days, she had been telling the townspeople that her dad lived. Her fan, Homer Barron (a Northerner) threatened to leave her for another man (a case of homosexuality).
After the event, the townspeople thought that the Yankee road worker returned to the north. Throughout the occurrence, Emily Grierson was seen purchasing arsenic from a local pharmacy; for this reason the townspeople presumed that she will devote suicide. Hence, the townspeople continued to gossip about the Emily’s household history of mental disorder.
From that time, she was hardly ever seen by the townspeople. She hardly ever left her house. The townspeople likewise kept in mind the considerable changes both in the body and character of Emily. He ended up being fat and somewhat older (hair turning gray). During her “seclusion” from her society, she started providing lessons in china-painting.
She likewise developed a studio where the children and granddaughters of Colonel Sartoris (whom she significantly admired) went with regularly. After 40 years, she passed away. An old Negro required to open the door of a room (where no one had the ability to see for many decades) in Emily’s home.
To the surprise of everybody, Homer’s corpse was resting on the bed embraced in a curl of love (a long strand of Emily’s hair was discovered in the second pillow of the bed). The psychosis of Emily Grierson generally was enhanced by the social conditions directed to her (by the townspeople).
The first “social condition” that led her to end up being a psychotic was the sheriff’s tax notification. The former mayor, Colonel Sartoris assured her that, in return for the cash lent by his dad to the town, she would be excused from paying taxes. This arrangement was changed by the new authorities of the town.
In one scene, Emily said, “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris described it to me. Possibly one of you can gain access to the city records and testify yourselves” (Faulkner I). Without due factor to consider to the plan made by the former mayor (who was dead currently) and Emily, the authorities were identified to carry out the tax notice given to her. This instance was proved when one of the authorities said, “However we have. We are the city authorities, Miss Emily. Didn’t you get a notification from the sheriff, signed by him?” (Faulkner I).
This irritated Emily. She argued that although she received the tax notice, it could not be considered a legitimate one. At this point, Emily in some way lost her mental stability. She said, “See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson” (Faulkner I). Keep in mind here that Colonel Sartoris died practically 10 years back.
The next “social condition” that reinforced her state of psychosis was the general response of the townspeople towards Emily during her daddy’s funeral. The pity revealed by the people forced her to become strong (in the face of a general calamity); even if the townspeople viewed this as a sign of psychological breakdown.
To show this point, let us evaluate the occasions in the funeral service of Emily’s father. In the very first part of the scene, the townspeople showed pity for Emily due to the fact that the death of her father would palatably result in the transfer of homes to Emily. Her inheritance would serve as a way of income during her lifetime.
This quote serves the point: “At last they might pity Miss Emily. Remaining alone, and a pauper, she had actually become humanized. Now she too would know the old adventure and the old misery of a cent basically” (Faulkner II) She understood the reactions of the people towards her father’s death, so she pretended (it might be real based on the mental history of her household) to be strong. This can be shown by this quote:
“The day after his death all the girls prepared to call at your home and deal condolence and aid … Miss Emily satisfied them at the door, impersonated normal and without any trace of grief on her face. She told them that her daddy was not dead. She did that for three days … (italics mine)” (Faulkner II).
When the authorities will utilize force, she broke down. This breaking down can be translated as a sign of mental breakdown. The sorrow she built up in herself was launched when the authorities were about to dispose the body of his dad. The townspeople did not recognize the value Emily connected to her dad. In fact, the townspeople hated the habits Emily revealed during her father’s funeral.
At last, Emily found a fan, Homer Barron (a Yankee roadway employee– a Northerner). When Homer Barron threatened to leave her, Emily “brought her head high enough– even we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the acknowledgment of her dignity … as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness to reaffirm her imperviousness (italics mine” (Faulkner III).
Thus, she purchased of some rat poison (arsenic) which many individuals translated as an impulse to devote suicide. This third condition is the best factor in strengthening Emily’s “silent psychosis” (covert/uninitiated illness). The townspeople believed that Emily returned to her normal life, although this time, it was filled with sorrow. She had actually grown fat and her hair became gray, indications that she was residing in a world of grief (she declined to accommodate her kinsmen from Alabama).
When she died, the townspeople provided flowers and a crayon face of Emily’s daddy in her funeral. The next day, they discovered the corpse of Homer Barron in one of the secluded rooms of Emily’s house pushing a bed. It was kept in mind that a strand of gray hair was beside the corpse; an indicator that for forty-years Emily slept with the remains, treating it as her personal love (a love undeterred even by death).
This was suggested in a quote: “the body had obviously once depend on the attitude of a welcome, today the long sleep that lasts longer than love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had actually cuckolded him” (Faulkner IV). Sadly, the remains proved that Emily’s psychological condition aggravated. Only after 40 years, the townspeople learnt that Emily pretended to be strong.
They were not able to recognize that their actions added to the worsening of Emily’s psychological condition (traceable in her family history). The shallow understanding of the townspeople to Emily’s individual feelings and their grim program of pity contributed to this aggravating. The roses offered during her funeral individualizes their skin-deep understanding of her conditions; the touch
Faulkner, William. (1930 ). A Rose for Emily. 22 October 2007 from http:// http://www.ariyam.com/docs/lit/wf_rose.html.