Psychoanalytic Criticism of A Rose for Emily A Rose for Emily is a sad story about a woman who struggles with being unable to cope with the death of her father and being a lonely woman. It is broken into 5 sections in which in each part the narrator shifts the point of view. In section 1 the story starts off at Miss Emily’s funeral. The funeral is taking place at her home and many people come to pay their respects and also are curious to see the inside of the house. No one had seen the inside of the house besides the manservant for 10 years.
Throughout the story we see the struggles a woman has with loneliness, depression and even necrophilia. Miss Emily’s character has many mental problems. Her biggest problem that we see her struggles with is denial. Several times through out the story she struggles with the denial of big issues. Sometimes it’s the death of a person or other times it was denying the fact that she owed taxes. Another struggle that she deals with is the fear of abandonment, which that seems to be what brought on her denial.
Growing up her father was very controlling and when her father passes I think she has trouble dealing with not having a controlling figure in her life. That is what brought on the denial of her father’s death. That denial also plays a role in her necrophilia problem later in the story. The first of Miss Emily’s problem is denial. In a couple of cases we see that her denial is a big problem for her. We first see her denial take place when she takes place when the narrator talks about how she avoided paying taxes.
This seems minor at this point because the town had told her that she owed no taxes, and in fact that the city owed her money from her fathers loan to the town. The loan was false but when her father passed she was left with only a house. Since she was thought of by the town as “ a tradition, a duty and a care” (pg. 148). the town decided to help her out. They didn’t think she would take charity money so they made up the lie. When the younger people started taking over the town they sent her a letter to pay her taxes. She insisted that she owed nothing to the town. The leaders of the town sent a couple of letters to her but got no return.
Back and forth it went until they decided to go to her house and collect the money. After a brief discussion she forced them out of her home with out paying and telling them to talk to Colonel Sartoris because she has no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris had died by this point but she was unaware because she wouldn’t leave her home. We see her deal with denial when the death of her father comes. The day after he died a group of ladies went up to the house to “offer condolences and aid” (pg. 151) and Miss Emily “met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. ” (pg. 51) She denied that her father was dead. For 3 days people went to her house trying to get her to let them dispose of the body. And right as they were about to use law and force she allowed them to take the body and burry him. This is when we first signs that she was gong crazy. However, the narrator does say that they didn’t think she was crazy at this point but “she had to do that. ” (pg. 151) The third denial she faces is when she murdered Homer Barron. Her and Homer were seen together on several occasions out in town. Many people thought they would marry but then Homer was last seen entering her home.
The people of Jefferson thought he had left town after that since he was never seen again. At the end we learn that she had killed him. His body was lying in an upstairs room. The room was set up almost like that of a room for a bridal. Although filled with dust, the narrator describes a room that at one time was decorated. Homer’s body was decayed and only the bones were left. There was evidence that she would lay beside him at night. She killed him because she was fearful of abandonment. In a way I think she thought she would always have him by killing him then leaving his body up stairs so she could lay with him until she died.
We can look at how she treated death of her father and Homer as denial but it can also be looked at, as she feared abandonment as well. Growing up her father was very strict with her. She wasn’t allowed to date any man. Her father was extremely controlling over almost every part of her life. So when her father passed she didn’t want to admit it to herself because he was all she had as for as close family goes. I think she needed that controlling figure in her life. It’s obvious that she liked Homer and maybe she was scared he would leave her so she killed him. By doing that she would have him forever.
Her love for Homer may have come due to the fact that she was like her dad. Even though her dad was controlling of her she had loved him dearly. She was longing for that controlling figure and that is why she fell for Homer. The narrator describes him as a “mans man”. (pg 152) His controlling tendencies were clear when he was seen cussing at the people he was over at work. Through out this story we see Miss Emily struggle with the inner demons of denial and fear of abandonment. I think Faulkner does a great job by showing how there is a mental affect of someone growing up in a controlling environment.
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