William Faulkner published the novel “A Rose for Emily” in 1930. The main character in this story is Emily Grierson. Because of her father’s overprotection, she has been depicted as a mentally troubled woman since childhood. She led a solitary life, and the inhabitants of the town associated her with social standing. Emily started working with them after her father died. During the process, she met a suitor, Homer Barron, and went to live with him in her home. Emily displayed odd habits and thought processes throughout her life. Homer was discovered dead in bed at Emily’s house later in the novel. In a trial to convict Emily Grierson for murder, one would argue that she killed Homer and therefore liable for a murder crime. However, this essay takes a different perspective based on the thinking patterns and conduct of Emily Grierson. The paper is in defense for Emily by arguing that she did kill Homer. However, Emily was not in control of what she was doing as she had Schizophrenia.
There are various incidences in the story confirming that Emily was ailing from Schizophrenia. First, after the death of her father, Emily kept his body for a little while with her. Faulkner states that after the death of her father “dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. Emily did that for three days,” Emily did not want the body of her father disposed of until she was persuaded to accept her dad’s death. She was in denial of her father’s death as they were very close and not ready to lose him forever. However, the conduct of staying with a corpse is abnormal. It shows that Emily was mentally sick.
In a second instance, after killing Homer, Emily kept the body in her house. She stayed with the corpse until her death. Keeping Homer’s body after killing him reveals that Emily was behaving abnormally. A reasonable person would not remain with a dead body in the house. Emily died at the age of 74 years. After her burial, the body of Homer was found in her home on the bed lying there.
From these two incidences, it is evident that the unusual behaviors and thinking patterns of Emily Grierson were influenced by the disease she was suffering from, Schizophrenia. In the two events, Emily stayed with dead bodies in the house. The author confirms that the illness was genetic. Faulkner states that “even with insanity in the family she wouldn’t have turned down all of her chances if they had materialized.” Others in the town would recall madness in the household. Faulkner stated “remembering how old lady Wyatt, her great-aunt, had gone completely crazy at last.” The people in her neighborhood knew her condition and did not help her.
Smith and Segal state that Schizophrenia is a disease that makes a person have difficulties in differentiating the reality and what is not real. A person has challenges in managing emotions, functioning normally and relating to others (1). Emily has Schizophrenia that alters how she thinks, speaks, behaves and sees the world. People in the neighborhood see her as normal, but from inside, Emily is sick. The signs of Schizophrenia include being reclusive to other people, isolation, saying peculiar things, irrational statements, unable to express sadness or joy, laughing or crying inappropriately and showing indifference to life (Smith and Segal 2). Other common signs are hallucinations, disorganized behavior, disorganized speech, negative symptoms and delusions (Smith and Segal 4). Emily is displaying the signs of Schizophrenia as she made wrong statements. For example, after the death of her father, Emily said that he is not dead. In reality, her father was dead, and she could not distinguish the real from unreal. Her behavior is disorganized because she stays with dead bodies in the house. The causes of Schizophrenia can be genetic, environmental and abnormal brain structure (Smith and Segal 9). Emily got her illness from genetic causes. As discussed earlier, she had relatives with the disease and passed it to her through genetics.
By putting Emily Grierson on trial for killing Homer, it will not be justice to charge her with the crime of murder because of her mental state. Her Schizophrenia illness causes her insanity. As a jury handling her case, I would consider the illness that makes Emily behave, think and act in an uncommon way. It was not her intention to kill Homer, but because of Schizophrenia, Emily thought killing Homer Barron would make him hers forever. It confirms that Emily was not in control of what she was doing and therefore not guilty of killing Homer.
Smith, Melinda, and Segal, Jeanne, Schizophrenia Symptoms, Signs, and Coping Tips, Helpguide.com, 2016, The Web