A Rose for Emily is a tragic short story written by William Faulkner. The main character, Emily Grierson, is the most gossiped about woman in the town of Jefferson. Her situation is very similar to Mrs. Wrights situation in the play Trifles, written by Susan Giaspell. Both women in the story and the play are portrayed as; mentally ill and have slowly went through an emotional break-down. Both protagonists are outcasts from their community and are rarely seen out around town. Both stories have a woman as the main character; and both stories end with them committing murder. In Miss Emilys case it was her long time love and known flirt Homer Barron; while in Trifles Mrs. Wright murders her husband, Mr. Wright. In my essay I will write about the causes that lead both women to mentally break down.
Mr. and Mrs. Wright live in a society that is cut off from the outside world; similarly Miss Emily Grierson is isolated from the town of Jefferson. According to what is written in Trifles Mr. and Mrs. Wright where isolated from the town; their house was situated in a hollow; therefore, not much of it could be seen from outside the hollow. The Wrights house was described as creepy and an unhappy place by the towns people. As said in Trifles by Mrs. Hale; it never seemed a very cheerful place I wish if they re going to find any evidence theyd be about it. I dont like this place. (Giaspell 744). This is clear evidence that the house had a weird vibe. Miss Emily was also isolated from the town she lived in. set on what once had been our most selected street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emilys house was left (Faulkner 865). This immediately hints to the reader that the characters are outcasts and considered weird by the people of their town.
Both characters were very much respected, despite the break down they have at the end of the story. Miss Emily was born in a rich family in the town of Jefferson and was well connected with the previous mayor. The towns people thought of her as a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town (Faulkner 865). As for Mrs. Wright she was a very sociable and loved person before and after her marriage, she used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir. But that-oh that was thirty years ago. (Giaspell 745). Mrs. Wright was loved and respected even after Mrs. Hale and Peterson suspected that she may have been the culprit of her husbands death by hiding the evidence and not telling the police they had found the dead canary in order to protect their dear friend Mrs. Wright.
Miss Emilys lover and Mrs. Wrights husband were a contrast to one another. Miss Emily was in love with a foreman; Homer Barron; Homer was most probably Emilys first real love and the first person she may have had sexual relations with. He was loved by the town of Jefferson but was known to be a flirt a man that liked going out for a drink with the guys; He liked the company of men (Faulkner 869). This said by the mysterious resident that was narrating the story. Mrs. Wrights husband, John Wright, was know to be very strict and had bad temper for things he did not tolerate or dislike. Mr. Wright wasnt like by the towns people; Wright was described as a hard person to live with. Mrs. Hale said Mr. Wright was the one who killed the bird as well as qualities in his wife, no Wright wouldnt like the bird - a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that too. (Giaspell 749). He appears to be an overbearing, unhappy person a trigger for stress related madness. There are two basic kinds of stress: inner stress from previous traumas or wounds that affect one's present life; and outer stress, or the environmental issues that complicate life on a daily basis, such as work or family problems. The interplay of these two forms of stress affects brain chemistry just as it can affect physical health. Numerous studies have shown that when people are chronically stressed in life, they are vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and other disorders (Bollinger OOMI 708). In Mr. Wrights case it would be the environment as well as some of his genetic coding, a specific gene has been associated with bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive disorder) (Bollinger OOMI 707). That may have caused him to have such an enormous break down.
Both women suffered from stress based madness that may have led them to commit murder. Miss Emilys case was that she was to proud and found it extremely stressful when Homer Barron rejected her as a bride. Homer was a bachelor at heart He liked the company of men (Faulkner 869). Furthermore He was not the marrying man (Faulkner 869). Miss Emily already had deteriating physiological health; that grew worse after the death of her father. Miss Emily could not take the stress of having to deal with the fact that a man from a lower class rejected her as his bride; therefore, in an insane persons mind the best solution is to get rid of the problem and Miss Emily made the decision to poison Homer and spare the embarrassment she may have gotten if the town found out. Mrs. Wright did have a break down, but my theory is she had it after the death of Mr. Wright. It is never made clear if she killed her husband or if he committed suicide. The emotional trauma can be seen in the beginning of the story by her attitude towards Mr. Hale. Mrs. Wright is in a state of shock her constant rocking, pleating of her skirt, her "queer" look and her dead pan response to how Mr. Wright died. "He died of a rope around his neck," (Giaspell 742). This indicated a high level of emotional stress. She was not responding to anything. More evidence of an emotional break down was when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters examine her quilt. The sewing was very nice and even at the beginning then it suddenly becomes a wild disaray of stiches. These actions and truly indicate an unbalanced state of mental being. However, is it enough to charge a woman with murder?
My theory of how Mr. Wright died is that he committed suicide. And that he himself had a mental illness that caused him to kill himself. As I said before Mr. Wright was know to be very ill tempered; and was a difficult person to live with. This supported by I dont think a placed be any cheerfuller for John Wrights being in it. (Giaspell 744). John Wright may have possibly had mania mental illness, a mood characterized by excessive elation, hyperactivity, agitation and accelerated thinking. This is well supported by the previous mental analysis done on Mr. Wright according to the Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology Most episodes of maniaelation without reasonable cause or justificationare followed in short order by depression; together they represent the opposites described as bipolar disorder Expressions of hostility and irritability also are common during manic episodes. I propose that Mr. Wright killed the canary by breaking its neck therefore compelling evidence that he possessed mania. Therefore Mr. Wright thought that taking something dear to his wife was a way of controlling her; keeping her the way he wanted. Compelling evidence that it couldnt have possibly been Mrs. Wright who mutilated the bird; the cage is severely damaged, (Giaspell 749). Mrs. Wright is not described as someone with a lot of strength; but was described as being like a bird. The reader can envision her as someone petite or slight. She is described as being sweet, pretty, timid and fluttery. It would take a lot for someone of this description to twist a birds neck 360 degrees; so committing murder wasnt possible even if she wanted to. My theory is that Mr. Wrights mania was triggered after an argument with his wife; or just being fed up of his life. He broke the birds cage in rage and killed it then later on hit a deep mood of depression and hung himself. But we should not rule out the theory that Mrs. Wright became mentally unstable and killed her husband. She could have been assisted with the murder. It would take a lot of strength to hang a large man and Mr. Wright was envisioned to be. Also the sheriff and county attorney are baffled by the way the rope was strung up, it was rigged up strangely; perhaps because he had to do the rigging himself without waking Mrs. Wright. According to Mrs. Peters; Mr. Henderson said coming out that what was needed for the case was a motive; something to show anger or sudden feeling. So say if she was to show a strong emotion or sudden anger, she probably would have used the gun in the house to save time and the effort of hanging John Wright. There is no reason for her to have waited till he slept to kill him. In miss Emilys case it was all the emotional trauma that she took during her life time which begun with her tough rearing and the fact that every man she liked was scared away by her father; he was known to be a shotgun father that carried a whip. According to a character analysis of Emily, It is reasonable to propose that Miss Emily developed this mental illness as a response to the demanding conditions in which she was living as a southern woman from an aristocratic family(Wright 1). Miss Emily was especially impacted by her fathers death where she wouldnt let go of his body for three days; due to the emotional attachment she had for him. The last action that caused Miss Emily to snap was the rejection she got from Homer Barron a man of lower class. This due to her extremely unstable state if mind caused her to snap and poison the man she loved to save the embarrassment that she may have faced if the people of the town may have found out.
To conclude all three characters Miss Emily, John Wright and Mrs. Wright were mentally ill. Miss Emily had a greater illness causing her to isolate her self for over ten years and murdering and sleeping with her lovers body every night until the day she died. Mr. Wright was mentally ill from the beginning most probably with mania, therefore he lost his temper spontaneously killed the canary his wife adored in order to restore order in his house; but later on himself reached a stage where he couldnt control his illness and eventually hung himself. Mrs. Wright became emotionally unbalanced by a series of events. First, Mr. Wright killed the canary while Mrs. Wright was sewing. This explains the strange unbalanced stitches; and the bird in the sewing basket. She then wakes up the next morning to the shock of finding her husband hung beside the bed. That would be enough to stress out anyone. The fact that when in the jail she is still concerned with "trifles"; trifles such as having an apron; or asking about her shawl and her fruit do not appear to be concerns of a woman who took charge of a life altering event. Her life is still the same more or less. It is Mr. Wrights that in unalterably changed.