A Rose for Emily
Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town […]. (1.3)
As is often the case in the story, Emily is described here as an object, a thing passed on from generation to generation. When we realize the town is complicit in her downfall, this objectification waxes sinister.
[…] a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. The tax notice was also enclosed, without comment […]. (1.4)
From her handwriting, to her stationery, to her way of dealing with the town, Miss Emily is living in the past. But, it's not her past. That's just the way it is, as the tax collectors learn.
People in our town, remembering how old lady Wyatt, her great-aunt, had gone completely crazy at last, believed that the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were. (2.11)
If it hadn't been for lady Wyatt, the town would have found something else to use as evidence against any Grierson claim to nobility. But, sane or not, not one can deny what the Grierson's had. This also gives us one of the few clues to the history of Emily's family.