Progress in Dementia

English 102-53February 10, 2004The death of Miss Emily Grierson, is from “Dementia”. Everybody inthe community has to come visit her at death, “the men, through a sort ofrespectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out ofcuriosity to see the inside of her house, which no one, save and oldmanservant – a combined gardener and cook – had seen in at least ten years”(622). In “A Rose for Emily”, William Faulkner traces Miss Emily’sincreasing dementia and foreshadows the surprise ending.Unquestionably, there are the townspeople that have always perceivedthe Grierson family. “We had long thought of them as tableau”, Miss Emilya slender figure in white, as contrasted with her father who described as”a spraddled silhouette” (624).

When her father dies and leaves herpenniless, people are glad they can pity her. The unemotional Miss Emilyclings to her father for three days. “she broke down, and they buried herfather quickly” (624).The townspeople did say she is crazy then; theybelieve she is in denial. For a long period after her father’s death, MissEmily is sick and remains in solitude. During the summer after herfather’s death, she is now seen by the townspeople with a Yankee daylaborer driving the yellow-buggy every Sunday afternoon.

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The oldertownspeople think that even with Miss Emily’s grief, she cannot forget thatshe has come from a family of a higher social position than to date anorthern Yankee. Still, the townspeople say “Poor Emily” (625). Declaringher “fallen” from the high Grierson perch.After, Miss Emily appears to come out of solitude. She is describedas “a slight woman, thought thinner than usual, with cold, haughty blackeyes in a face the flesh of which was strained across the temples and aboutthe eye-sockets as imagine a lighthouse-keeper’s face ought to look”(625).

Then, she goes to the town druggist to buy poison, “the best” -“arsenic” (625). With the druggist thinking she is going to end hermiserable life, he gives her the poison. Instead, Homer disappears fromtown, returning only once and then is visually seen by a neighbor admittedthrough the kitchen door.After Homer’s disappearance, Miss Emily returns to solitude where herfinal images appear in one of the downstairs window. After her burial, thetownspeople enter her home and find that she had boarded the top floor ofher house. “Like the carven torso of an idol in a niche, looking or notlooking at us, we could never tell which” (626).

The door has to be forcedopen, and what they find is the skeletal remains of a man whom they assumedis Homer. “A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere uponthis room decked and furnished as for a bridal: upon the delicate array ofcrystal and the man’s toilet things” (627).In conclusion, describing the boarded up floor as being the bridalroom of when she courts Homer Barron, the man himself lies in the bed.Throughout Miss Emily life, her father controls her; but when he passesaway, her life seemed to be out of control.

Miss Emily keeps herself in astate of dementia, foreshadowing the surprise ending. Work CitedFaulkner, William.”A Rose for Emily.”Literature for Composition. Ed.Sylvan Barnet et al.

6th ed. New York: Longman, 2003, 622-627.