A Rose for Emily: Pressures of Society
Pressures of Society Most people desire to fit in with the social norm. People do not want to be outcasts or different. Everyone in a society tries to fit into their cookie cutter forms to make themselves just like everyone else. Society does not like those who don’t fit in and meet their standards. In the short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, the main character Emily lives in a society full of high morals and monetary status. The setting plays a huge role on the actions of Emily and forces her to seclude herself from the rest of society. A Rose for Emily” takes place in post- civil war Jefferson, a small town in the deep south of the United States. The setting of the story helps illuminate the values of society during that time. Emily’s society was built on the beliefs that the white, upper-class citizens were far more superior to everyone else. Being that they were more superior, everyone was held to a higher standard. The people of Jefferson were expected to have prim and proper houses and yards, high morals, and to obey all of the town’s laws.
While Emily was part of the upper-class, she did not quite fit in to society’s cookie cutter mold. Emily’s house was an eyesore to the rest of the town, she was said to be dating a gay man who was of the working class, and she did not pay her taxes. The people of the town began to question Emily’s sanity because she was not just like everyone else. “Some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people…. but at last the ladies forced the Baptist minister…. o call upon her. ” (94-95) These actions show how much society truly wanted to change Emily’s way of life so she would fit in with them and stop ruining their image. The southern country setting with these harsh conditions led Emily to lock herself in her home in order to seclude herself from society. Emily did not feel welcome in her society. She knew that the others judged her and looked down upon her for her actions. The pressures of society took a huge toll on Emily. The front door closed upon the last one and remained closed for good. When the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them. ” (95). Emily felt as though she was a total outcast in her society and she became insane because of it. After her death, the town finds out that Emily had murdered her future husband. She had truly gone insane due to the pressure that society had placed on her.
All in all, Emily’s harsh society that she lived in caused her to feel unwelcome and go insane. Emily felt forced into locking herself away in her home to seclude herself from society. The high moral standards that the rich white southerners place on society greatly affected the life of Miss Emily. Emily did not fit into society’s cookie cutter mold, and as a result she was ridiculed and cast away from the rest of society. The pressures of society can have a very damaging effect on those who do not fit into the social norms.