This is a paper that's due for my English class in a couple of hours, so please give me feedback. The starting question was "Does Faulkner's explanation of God VS. Satan expand the story for you. Feedback is appreciated (especially before I leave to hand it in in 4 hours).
The simple answer is that it does expand on the meaning of the story for William Faulkner is the author, and the author has more insight on his work than the reader does. However, the conflict of good and evil, God versus the Devil, has appeared in several forms before and after "A Rose for Emily." It is taught to us at an early age in cartoons, and has been written about since words have been placed on paper or carved into stone. God, the guiding light, fighting on the side of humanity while the Devil, trickster extraordinaire, tries to lure humanity down the path of darkness and evil. Miss Emily Grierson could easily be portrayed as a pawn caught up in a game played by larger figures.
Miss Emily's life was one full of tragedy as she was predestined by genetics to suffer from insanity through her life. This would be bad enough if it were not for her overbearing father, "We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip."1 This paints an image not of a father, but more of a slave owner. Not only this, her father would not let her date, or be courted. He deemed no one in the town worthy enough of wooing his daughter, or he couldn't bear with loosing her. Nothing is ever mentioned of Miss Emily's mother, so one could only imagine the conditions growing up in such a household.
It is well apparent from Faulkner's writing that Miss Emily had a problem with death. When her father died, Miss Emily strongly denied it for three days, then, before the townspeople were ready to break in and take the body, Miss Emily caved, not that she caved but more broke down with the acceptance of what had happened. It's not known how Miss Emily's brutal father died, whether it was natural causes or if Miss Emily found someway to repay him for her lost childhood. Shortly after this loss, she found love in the arms of a man named Homer Barron.
Homer was almost the complete opposite of Miss Emily, and thus an object of her affection. He was a white northerner, a laborer rebuilding the sidewalks in the town, who enjoyed laughing, joking and being the center of attention no matter where he was. Miss Emily, judging from her father and how he treated her, was a rather submissive girl who needed the company of a strong man, one like Homer Barron. Not only that, but Homer was a foreigner, someone who did not know about Miss Emily's family, and, more importantly, her father. The two spent time together on Sundays, and the townspeople were happy that Miss Emily might find a man for herself. However the presence of her cousins would interfere, but, more importantly, Homer was not the marrying type.
Miss Emily did not want to deal with this loss, the heartbreak of a lost love. One can almost picture a cartoonish devil sitting on her shoulder whispering into her ears days before she bought the arsenic that would put Homer into his final resting place. While she did know better, assuming she did not murder her father as well, she was persuaded, as many have been, to commit such a heinous act. While not explicitly discussed in the course of the short story, one could only imagine the convolution of conflicting conscious that Miss Emily was feeling.
If Satan was on her shoulder, then where was God? Where was the good to come in and win? God was present, but ineffective. The Baptist minister had talked to Miss Emily, although the reader knows not what was discussed, one could only imagine what would make the minister not want to return to the old worn down house. God is also a being who moved in ways humanity never understood. So one cannot be sure of his motivation behind allowing what happened to happen.
God and Satan are two fickle subjects that can be referred to in almost any situation. Both are highly subjective and both cannot be explained. The battle between good and evil will always be fought. The tale of Miss Emily is a tragedy of a simple woman whose soul was the battlefield for this mystical battle.