Through the mysterious figure of Emily Grierson, the author conveys the change that Emily overcomes in the course of her life. "Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor- who fathered that edict that no negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron- remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity." (Faulkner 79) She would not accept charity, but seeing that her father loaned money to the town, that was their way of repaying. Within the next generation, the agreement between the previous mayor -who has now passed away- was invalid. That was two years after her father’s death, and shortly after she was abandoned by the one whom we believed was her fiancé. She endured many changes in her life. Modern society was changing around her, and her door remained closed for about six or seven years. Being alone for all that time can really change a person emotionally.
Death hangs over Miss Grieson. She attempted to overcome the power of death by denying the fact of death itself. Her odd relationship to the dead bodies of the men she has loved is revealed first when her father dies. Unable to admit that he has passed, Emily clings to the controlling paternal figure whose denial and control became the only form of love she knew. She was forced to give up his body after 3 days of him passing. Emily, a well known fixture in the community, gives in to death slowly. She is compared to a drowned woman. "She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue." (Faulkner 80) In the same description, she has a small, spare skeleton, and is practically dead on her feet. She is described in many different ways in, once bloated, and another she is seen to be growing old and "motionless". Her health was slowly declining after her great losses. When Homer dies, Emily refuses to acknowledge death once again. Although this time, she herself was responsible for his death. In killing Homer, she was able to keep him with her. However, Homer’s death rendered him gone forever. Emily and Homer’s sick marriage revealed her disturbing attempt to fuse life and death, however, death triumphs.
Emily seemed to have a lot of power over the community and the people in it. Although the town officials asked Emily to pay taxes, they never try hard enough to succeed. They come into her home and tell her she must pay the taxes, and she crudely cuts them off and made them leave. The subtle passivity and backwardness of the town allowed Emily to grow stronger and take what she wants. For instance, she