Opening Statement: Miss Emily Grierson is a lady of the antebellum South. Not only was she protected and cared for by her father, but the city officers of the town also felt compelled to protect her after his death. Her mere presence impelled those around her to abide by her every wish. Pitied, respected, and gossiped about freely, the only delineation from her lifestyle was her one beau, Homer Barron, a Yankee who had been hired to help in the construction of roads in Jefferson.
Homer was man's man who openly said he would never settle down, yet seemed to be openly having relations with Miss Emily as they drove around in Miss Emily's carriage every Sunday until the day he mysteriously disappeared. This is the story of a woman who was perceived as being submissive, retiring, and ladylike. In reality, however, she is actually able to keep the townspeople submissive to her wishes and when she is denied what she wants, she is able to take action to make sure that she can keep the man that she wants.
(1) Although Miss Emily exudes an aura of the type of old fashioned, refined femininity that seems to submit to male authority, in reality those around almost always end up doing as she wishes.
Example: In 1894, Colonel Sartoris had remitted Miss Emily's taxes "the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity" (Faulkner, p. 27). When the next generation of "mayors and aldermen" (p.27) were elected into office, they decided to start taxing her again. When the townleaders called upon Miss Emily at home to discuss this she "did not ask them to sit. She just stood in the door and listened quietly until the spokesman came to a stumbling halt" (p. 27). In the following conversation she repeats the phrase "I have no taxes in Jefferson" (p. 27-28) four times, asking them to check their records, Colonel Sartoris had explained it all to her years ago. "So she vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she vanquish...