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Madness and Insanity in A rose for Emily - Research Paper Example

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Jerry Ciacho November 3, 2012 The Evils of Seclusion in A Rose for Emily In “A Rose for Emily”, a short story written by Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Price laureate William Cuthbert Faulkner published in April of 1930 in a magazine, the main character, Emily Grierson, shows disturbing mental troubles as she is cut off from society and is isolated in her august house in the small city of Jefferson…
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Madness and Insanity in A rose for Emily
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Download file to see previous pages The short story also, in addition, puts an emphasis on the long history of adamant societal limitations and restrictions that are set down on females, which became another factor for her suppression. Furthermore, the Griersons showed a refusal to concede to the changing times. They remained stuck in the past of their wealth and nobility that fueled the story’s plot. According to a journal written by John Skinner, Emily represented "a refusal to submit to, or concede, the inevitability of change." (Skinner 42) All in all, these subthemes altogether play a bigger role in its distressing representation of uncharacteristic mental behavior and implications that are displayed in the dark secluded demesne of Emily Grierson. The restrictions and limitations insisted on on the young aristocrat, along with the refusal to change, caused her to be extremely secluded and isolated from the rest of the world around her and later on, instigated her apparent psychological instability. Emily Grierson is the archetypal outcast that hides her true identity away from the society; locking herself into the house that symbolized the august Old South and that clearly represented the idleness of Emily’s life as everyone else was progressing and moving forward. The house, which shelters Emily from the community, becomes a strong evidence of the woman’s withdrawn mentality. The house plays an important role in the short story because not only does it indicate Emily’s mental condition, it also becomes a facade of the living past for which Emily is trapped inside and it is only in her passing away that the entire society is given the opportunity to gain access and view of what Emily has been doing alone in that house for years since her father’s death. When the house is finally opened up, it confirms what the people in the neighborhood had been observing and presuming about her. What occurred inside of that house strongly showed the progressive insanity that encroached her life as she lived alone, separated from the outside. Indeed, her tragic and forced isolation and reclusion in that house could have caused the madness that destroyed her. Stuart Grassin’s journal gives a psychiatric explanation for this. It is written that when one is secluded and experience intense monotony, “after a time, the individual becomes increasingly incapable of processing external stimuli, and often becomes “hyperresponsive” to such stimulation. For example, a sudden noise or the flashing of a light jars the individual from his stupor and becomes intensely unpleasant. Over time the very absence of stimulation causes whatever stimulation is available to become noxious and irritating. Individuals in such a stupor tend to avoid any stimulation, and withdraw progressively into themselves and their own mental fog.” (Grassin 327) Emily’s father played a very important role in the story as he was the man who mainly controlled most of Emily’ life and decided for her while he was still alive. As written in the story, the people “had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door.” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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