Characterization of Emily Grierson

Outer characterization

Emily Grierson is the main character of the short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. She is part of the Jefferson pre-Civil War aristocracy and the last member of the Grierson family. Emily owns her father’s house and hires Tobe (p. 3, l. 2), a black man, as a servant. Emily also has two cousins who live in Alabama (p. 7, l. 2) and a great-aunt with a history of mental illness (p. 4, ll. 11-14).

When Emily is young, she is described as a “slender figure” (p. 4, l. 16), who is dominated by her controlling father. In her thirties, Emily’s hair “was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows--sort of tragic and serene” (p. 5, ll. 1-3). During her relationship with Homer Barron, she is described as “a slight woman, though thinner than usual, with cold, haughty black eyes in a face the flesh of which was strained across the temples and about the eyesockets as you imagine a lighthous...

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