A Rose for Emily

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A proud Southern gentleman, controlling of his daughter, who thinks that no suitor is worthy of her hand in marriage. As a result, she never does marry when he is alive, and is close to being beyond “marriageable age” after he dies. When he dies, Miss Emily insists for three days that he is not dead at all, and would have kept his corpse had the town authorities not intervened.

Miss Emily’s father Quotes in A Rose for Emily

The A Rose for Emily quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Emily’s father or refer to Miss Emily’s father . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Post Civil-War South Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Modern Library edition of A Rose for Emily published in 1993.
Section 2 Quotes

She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days… We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.

Related Characters: The townspeople (speaker), Miss Emily Grierson, The townspeople, Miss Emily’s father
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

Miss Emily's father was a proud, controlling man, and he rejected many of his daughter's potential suitors out of this pride, and despite his daughter's wishes. When he dies, he leaves to his daughter only the family house, leaving her poor and unmarriageable, as this quote reveals.

However, Miss Emily insists that her father is not dead at all—that is, she insists that the passage of time is not real, that there is no such thing as change. This is indeed a kind of madness, and it is telling that the townspeople do not think of it as such—yet. This is because the townspeople themselves deny the reality of time and change, albeit in a subtler way. They live as though their glorious Southern heritage were a living tradition, and not what time has revealed it to be: dead, unrealistic, and ultimately repellent. The townspeople's madness in this respect is very similar to Miss Emily's, and Homer Barron's corpse becomes, in one sense, an image for what the South has become.

Ironically, Miss Emily most protects from the ravages of time the very father who denied her the full richness of life and self-determinatio—"that which had robber her," as the townspeople put it. But the townspeople cling to what robbed them, too: they cling to an aristocratic plantation economy that cut against the fundamental American values of democracy and equality, and they cling also to the moral evils of the institution of slavery.  

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Miss Emily’s father Character Timeline in A Rose for Emily

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Emily’s father appears in A Rose for Emily. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 1
The Post Civil-War South Theme Icon
Patriarchal Authority and Control Theme Icon
Time and Narrative  Theme Icon
...the town streets without an apron on—excused her from paying taxes, dating from the time her father died on into perpetuity. Miss Emily would not have accepted this excusal were she to... (full context)
The Post Civil-War South Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Progress Theme Icon
Patriarchal Authority and Control Theme Icon
...Miss Emily’s house. Tobe showed the men into the dusty interior; a crayon portrait of Miss Emily’s father stood by the fireplace. Once Miss Emily entered—a bloated-looking woman leaning on a cane—the deputation’s... (full context)
Section 2
Time and Narrative  Theme Icon
Gossip, Social Conventions, and Judgment Theme Icon
...of her taxes, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before—two years after her father ’s death, and shortly after her sweetheart (later identified as Homer Barron) had deserted her—in... (full context)
The Post Civil-War South Theme Icon
Time and Narrative  Theme Icon
Gossip, Social Conventions, and Judgment Theme Icon
...materialized. Consequently, the town felt vindicated in believing Miss Emily to be too proud. When her father died and she was left with only the house, the town could at last pity... (full context)
Tradition vs. Progress Theme Icon
Patriarchal Authority and Control Theme Icon
Time and Narrative  Theme Icon
Gossip, Social Conventions, and Judgment Theme Icon
The day after Miss Emily’s father died, the ladies of the town visited Miss Emily and, as was the custom, offered... (full context)
Section 3
The Post Civil-War South Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Progress Theme Icon
Patriarchal Authority and Control Theme Icon
Gossip, Social Conventions, and Judgment Theme Icon
...kin should come to aid her in avoiding a marriage that was beneath her. But Emily’s father had fallen out with what family the Griersons had in Alabama because of a disagreement... (full context)
Section 5
The Post Civil-War South Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Progress Theme Icon
Patriarchal Authority and Control Theme Icon
Time and Narrative  Theme Icon
Gossip, Social Conventions, and Judgment Theme Icon
...the funeral. The townspeople viewed Miss Emily’s corpse, over which stood the crayon portrait of her father . On the porch, the very old men, some in Confederate uniform, talked of Miss... (full context)