Emily Grierson Psychosocial Analysis

Words: 1811
Pages: 8

The Psychosocial Development of Emily Grierson
From the sprinkling of lime around the antiquated house of Miss Emily to the purchase of arsenic to kill “rats,” William Faulkner has incorporated bizarre and grotesque elements into the multilayered short-story “A Rose for Emily.” Faulkner criticizes many aspects of the old South, in which part of its population refuses to accept new ideas, to adapt to changes. But the author, through the character of Emily Grierson, also presents the psychology of the human mind, which is complex and highly unpredictable. Faulkner, however, does not leave a clear explanation of Miss Emily’s unusual behavior. Based on Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory of development, Emily Grierson from William Faulkner’s short-story
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Miss Emily’s familial rigidity has disrupted her balance between trust and mistrust; thus, she has failed to resolve the very first crisis of life—trust versus mistrust. Miss Emily is the daughter of a wealthy, notable family in the old South. Perhaps her family members were soldiers who fought during the Civil War, for Faulkner mentions that she will be buried “among the ranked and anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson” (Faulkner, n.d.). The Griersons have had an enormous influence on the small town; therefore, Miss Emily also has become “a sort of hereditary obligation” for the townspeople. Miss Emily lives a secured yet secluded life. She lives in a well-built mansion—“white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies—that attracts people’s attention and arouses curiosity. The reader, however, does not learn anything about her mother; perhaps Miss Emily lost her mother at a young age, which is also when she becomes attached to her father. Faulkner portrays her father as a conservative, disciplined patriarch. Her father is protective, in fact, too protective to the point that he does not want Emily to have a husband. The townspeople sometimes spot her father as a “spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his …show more content…
Miss Emily encounters the crisis between trust versus mistrust during the very first stage of life, but she fails to attain a healthy balance between the two antagonistic tendencies. Her childhood mishaps, including the loss of her mother and the social seclusion caused by her protective father, have inundated her with confusions and emotional turbulence. She becomes attached to and trusted her father yet afraid to commit an intimate relationship with others due to the prolonged mistrust. The unresolved conflict indeed returns to her life when she encounters Homer. Miss Emily desires to control Homer, to control his life because she cannot trust anybody else besides her