“And as soon as the old people said, “Poor Emily,” the whispering began. “Do you suppose it’s really so?” they said to one another. “Of course it is. What else could …” This behind their hands; rustling of craned silk and satin behind jalousies closed upon the sun of Sunday afternoon as the thin, swift clop-clop-clop of the matched team passed: “Poor Emily.”
She carried her head high enough—even when we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson; as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness to reaffirm her imperviousness.”
What is an eccentric if not one standing just a step beyond our expectations? Emily seemed to have it all at first – position, money and prestige, but in time she drifted outside of society’s blessing by being too opaque. At some point it became impossible to distinguish cause and effect, and it seemed the more curious she became for her isolation, the more she insisted on it.
In this classic Southern Gothic tale, Faulkner leaves much to the reader. There are almost as many interpretations as there are readers and much of what you take from it will reflect what you brought. In a sense, that’s the heart of the tale. Growth and change come harder for some than most, but we do ourselves no favor by refusing to evolve.
Sooner or later, the past insists on being the past.