Diagnosing a psychological complication

Psychology Movie Relation

A Rose for Emily

Diagnosing a psychological complication are a daunting task and one that requires immense responsibility of the concerned health professionals who examine the patient and decide the appropriate diagnosis (APA, 2001). Among the many variables that a psychological professional observes, are the patient’s past life history. For Emily, an examination of the setting and characters in the plot, and an assessment of some of the themes in Faulkner’s short story, A Rose for Emily and the occurrences involving Emily’s father aids the reader to comprehend the pressures with which Emily tried coping and how she might have suffered from schizophrenia. Emily came from a family of high stature and affluence in their southern community and always had a burden of enormous expectations that people had for her. Her community anticipated her to have a hereditary obligation to uphold traditions, norms that her ancestors had established for past generations (William, 2003).

Her father, bestowed with the obligation of transmitting these norms and values to Emily, was rigid in executing these anticipations, and in the narrator’s words, Emily’s father was a person who had dissatisfied her woman’s life for numerous times (William, 2003). An instance of such a behavior was that he stopped all Emily’s suitors from marrying her because neither of them qualified. Every time a suitor approached, he proclaimed that they were not the best for her. Emily ended up unmarried. Despite her father’s oppressive nature, he died, and this is when the reader starts to note the acceleration of Emily’s psychological decline. While this may appear paradoxical, it is common. When the ill person suddenly does not have to cope with controlling external stressing factors, their defenses work out entirely, and they suffer latent psychotic symptoms (Staton, 2005).

The narrator notes that, after Emily father’s demise and her breakdown, Emily suffered for an extended time, although he does not espouse more details regarding the illness type that Emily suffers from (William, 2003). During this time, Emily starts to evade contact with other people and other psychotic indications become visible. Suddenly following her father’s demise, women of the town visited Emily in her home to give their condolences and they note that she had no sign of grief by the look on her face (William, 2003). The inability to feel and depict an appropriate reaction that is matched to a given situation is another classic symptom among schizophrenic patients (APA, 2001). Notably, Emily told her guests that her father was not dead (William, 2003). For this case, she would not allow people to remove her father’s body before she broke down and the town inhabitants took the body immediately before Emily could protest.

Despite information that Emily is not psychologically or emotionally well, the townspeople insisted in aiding her maintain her delusions (Kinney, 2000). Their denial is as pathological as Emily’s symptoms. The townspeople cannot confront Emily regarding any pertinent concerns such as the stinking stench that emanates from her abode, which itself appears more superseded, forbidding and detached (William, 2003). While the oncoming generation of townspeople communicates the matter to Emily directly, Judge Stevens gives feedback to the suggestion in rage assert to a man if he would accuse a woman of stinking to her face as if the smell is simply a body odour rather than a poignant smell. The younger generation townspeople being responsible for such concerns sneak into Emily’s basement and spread lime with the intention to eliminate the odour.

As the reader comes to under later, Emily recoiled completely into a world of fantasy and delusions. Emily has few contacts and the townspeople who dared visit received a neglecting response. There was a period where she withdrew from the community altogether, and since that time, her door remained locked. Changes that the narrator addresses to the townspeople when they next spotted Emily depicts another advanced psychosis symptom. Emily grew fat and her hair turned gray. Failure to focus on her individual appearance and to perform daily living tasks as mental health personnel term it. Such daily duties include grooming and hygiene and depict serious deficits in the field of occupational functioning, which is a criterion for diagnosing schizophrenia (APA, 2001).

At this level, Emily was unable to share with other townspeople in a proper manner. Although her relation with other people appears limited, when people force her to interact socially, she appears illogical and unsuitable, yet another symptom evident among schizophrenic patients (APA, 2001). The narrator notes an episode that asserts that when the town received mailboxes, Emily refuted them to install metal numbers on her door and affix mailboxes (William, 2003). Emily refused to listen to them. Other episodes within the entire story indicate Emily complicated psychological state. Early in the short story before the level of her symptoms had become comprehensible to the reader, the narrator relates an instance in which Emily appears before the town bureaucrats, to maintain that she does not owe them any taxes.

She repeats various instances that she has no dues in Jefferson and that the board of Aldermen could talk with Sartosis if they thought otherwise. It is not the fact that Emily asserted this that pinpoints her psychosis. Instead, it is her inherent insistence against factual things that they present and her denial to heed to the board of Aldermen of all that makes her appear as more than just an average stubborn town resident (William, 2003). Two other instances that are equally telling occur when Emily travels to the pharmacy to purchase poison. She appears not to have any emotion and appears paranoid, withholding intelligence from the pharmacist regarding her poison purchase request.

In another instance, the pharmacist, who represents the entire town, finds Emily’s request peculiar, but does not refute selling the poison to her. After all, the pharmacist took Emily as a special individual in town. He termed her as the last of a self-important line, and because of that, she was unassailable. Besides the common psychotic incident of sleeping with a dead body, the other pertinent instance involves Emily’s acquisition of items for the man that the entire town perceives to be her betrothed, who was presumably dead and lying in Emily’s house. When the people of the town break down the bedroom door after several years, the narrator pinpoints a furnished tableau for a bridal. It was full of dust and appeared frozen in time (William, 2003). Succinctly, Emily’s clutch on actuality had totally slipped.

If anyone concurs that Emily was a schizophrenic case, then naturally people may wish to comprehend the influences that caused her illness. Various psychologist experts have argued that Emily’s delusions, particularly regarding her father’s demise, develop a defense mechanism, for the demise of her father represented the demise of the aged order and Emily, as well. Other psychologists assert that Emily feeds off Homer because her father had consumed her figuratively,. Emily had taken into herself the violent deeds in her father, which thwarted her and re-enacted the violence. Various feminist critics perceive that Emily’s ailment is different (Staton, 2005). Some contend that Emily persisted on sustaining her existence, which the town residents recurrently declined to allow as they anticipated her to uphold her iconic and memorial position to the antebellum south.

While Emily’s place and gender, both figuratively and literally, possibly exacerbate and may have resulted in her condition, there is much documented proof to support the opposite argument. Emily was trying to declare an autonomous existence. She had no opportunity to do what she would have done in the past and thus developed schizophrenic symptoms as maladaptive coping methods. Faulkner’s short story is precisely a tale regarding societal pressures and the modes in which they can make people wear down. Emily lacked adaptive coping techniques to aid her manage substantial stressing factors. Resultantly, she was vulnerable to the oncoming mental illness.


APA. (2001). Quick Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-IV. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

Kinney, A.F. (2000). Faulkner’s Narrative Poetics: Style as Vision. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.

Staton, S.F. (2005). Literary Theories in Praxis. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

William, F. (2003). “A Rose for Emily.” In The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. 2160-2166. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.

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