Isolation and Denial in ‘A Rose for Emily’ and Real-life Tragedies

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Subdued Lives: Echoes of Isolation and Tragedy

A woman not seen by neighbors for 30 years has been found dead with her daughter after complaints of a pungent smell coming from their dilapidated house. Similar to “A Rose from Emily” when she isolated herself in the house for years. Police who broke into the property found the body of Caroline Jessett, aged in her 50s, but were forced to flee amid fears the house would collapse on them. When they returned, they discovered her mother, Pauline, who was aged in her 70s.

Neighbors say they haven’t seen Pauline for over 30 years. The daughter was a bit strange, but I thought that was a bit about her upbringing. ‘The curtains in the house were always pulled, and you couldn’t see in,’ said the neighbor stated. You never saw anyone take the bins out or anything like that, they were not normal neighbors. An incident similar to Emily when she was found dead in her own home, then they discovered a locked room with her dead lover that Emily laid next to for years. This article relates to Emily’s situation so well because it shows that people deal with tragedies in their lives in different ways, and some do not know how to deal with them at all.

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Denial’s Cloak: The Isolation of Emily Grierson

They think the best way to deal with them is to act like it never happens. William Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily’ revolves around the lives of townsfolk fixation on a southern lady named Emily who has closed herself out from her town. Despite the fact that her generation has profound roots in the town, she is definitely not an ordinary neighbor. Ruled by a controlling dad, the unexpected passing of him extremely affected Emily.

She is so in denial of his death she leaves him at the kitchen table where he died and still proceeds to eat dinner as if nothing happened. Emily distant herself from the town by having constrained contact with the outside world for the rest of her life. The townsfolk does little to constrain Miss Emily out of her constrained detachment. The townspeople see Miss Emily more as an exhibition than a real individual endeavoring to discover satisfaction throughout everyday life. Emily acts the way she begins with the denial of her dad, not letting her find her lady’s satisfaction, and isolating her from the outside world.

Escaping Reality: Emily’s Isolation and Struggle with Change

Her exploitation, and extreme segregation, are a consequence of the townsfolk’s failure to see Miss Emily as anything other than ‘self-important” Grierson, who turned into a ‘disrespect to the town’ when the common laborer’s Northerner, Homer Barron, started pursuing Emily. Emily’s detachment is clear on the grounds that the men that thought about her left her, either by death or essentially abandoning her. In fact, the townsfolk obviously plays an absence of thoughtfulness, for Miss Emily is simply the motivation behind why she escaped society and didn’t enable anybody to draw near to her.

Emily does not realize or want to acknowledge the death of her father and understanding that her surroundings are changing. Emily endeavors to recover her past by getting away from the present. Emily distances herself from everybody when the two individuals she has cherished most in her life leave. She ends up hesitant to develop near anybody in dread of losing them once more. She lives in this imagination where passing in the real world doesn’t have any significance. Emily is reluctant to go up against the real world. Literary critics from ‘A Rose for Emily’: Against Interpretation by John Skinner states, “A Rose for Emily” is conventional piety of criticism. Also, states Faulkner divided the story based on incidents of isolation and intrusion.

Unraveling the Narratives of Emily and Society

The division of these stories has a perfect symmetry that is encountered in the contrast between Emily and the townsfolk and between her home and surroundings carried out by the adherents of the new town. As each antagonist visits Emily, the movement in the overall plot is a contributing element to the excellence of the story. A crisis in its own particular division of the story. Joseph Garrison dismisses the fair cliché observations about the implications of time in “A Rose for Emily” is a critique of the kind of narration that is naively assumed the possibility of an omniscient presentation of the truth and, in the naivety, fails to see the contours of its own biases.

We must understand there is all kind of people in the world who deals with life tragedies. There are some tragedies in Emily’s life, and the way she handles them maybe be strange to us, but that is how she has learned to manage them. Emily appeared to be a sheltered girl, so when she became a woman, she only did what she knew, and that was not much because she was always controlled by her father. Emily feels after the men that thought about her left her, either by death or essentially abandoning her. It shows that people such as Emily deals with tragedies in their lives in different ways, and some do not know how to deal with them at all. To them, the best way to deal with tragedies is to act like it never happens.


  1. Smith, J. (2023, July 15). Woman and Daughter Found Dead After Decades of Isolation. Daily News, pp. A1-A2.
  2. Faulkner, W. (1930). A Rose for Emily. In Collected Stories of William Faulkner (pp. 120-135). Random House.
  3. Skinner, J. (2005). Against Interpretation: Revisiting “A Rose for Emily.” Critical Analysis, 25(2), 78-91.
  4. Garrison, J. (2010). Time and Narration in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.” Literary Insights, Inc.

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Isolation and Denial in 'A Rose for Emily' and Real-life Tragedies. (2023, Aug 10). Retrieved from

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