no one ever knows who the people are in her town and we never find out the race, how old they are, or how tall or short they are and whether if they actually knew Emily on a personal level. They are simply people of a small town, people who tend to gossip . We only know what the people are saying about her and how judgmental they are being throughout the whole story. as though the reader is invited to observe the bizarre nature of aspects of life and belief in the South. Of course, the observation of ‘exotic’ customs is not enough to explain Emily’s beliefs and motivations for her bizarre and transgressive acts – murdering her lover and then living with his corpse for many years.
However, there is considerable doubt regarding the way to interpret Emily’s thoughts and actions. Emily is a product and a symbolic representation of her society. As such, Emily’s actions are motivated not by an individual psychological person but by a more larger social picture.
Margaret Atwood shows us with the division between ladies and women in “The Female Body” by explaining how young women are constantly under the impression that they have to fit the current definition in order to fit in with society and be recognized by men. Every single individual is different in their own way, however the media has drilled it into every young girl’s mind that they are just like a Barbie doll and they describe them like “The basic Female Body comes with the following accessories: garter belt, panti-girdle, crinoline, camisole, bustle, brassiere, stomacher, chemise, virgin zone, spiked heels, nose ring, veil, kid gloves, fish stockings..etc” (477). This creates the spine-chilling feeling that actual real life human beings are being compared to plastic dolls and making it seem like they have these similarities that only one of them should have. The worse self-image a woman has, the more beauty products she will buy to try and improve her looks. There is no better way to make her think she is ugly than to subject her to thousands of unrealistic, machine-made plastic dolls to compare herself to.
This way of thinking is further drilled into the female mind that she has to look as good as they do. The media is discretely encouraging females to be extremely thin, thus heavily contributing to a young female’s negative self-esteem, because the appearance of the idolized women are almost impossible to achieve. Since the images of women in media are largely unattainable many young females become discouraged when attempting these goals and this creates feelings of decreased self-esteem. What is best understood about Grotesque Characterization is that it is commonly used as a brutal realization technique to show the true values that people are hiding. Despite it being so graphic at times, the utilization of it leaks out the cold hard truth for the people that is numb to it. For The Great Gatsby, it was the Valley of ashes that symbolized the men who crumbled there and the inequality between its inhabitants. In addition to the grotesque was the Necrophilism that took place in “A Rose for Emily”, in which Emily was performing necrophilism “under the nose” of the townspeople in order to keep the traditions of the old south alive. In “The Female Body’, Atwood uses grotesque details to describe the comparison of the Female Body and barbie dolls, treating it like the Female Body is the actual barbie doll.
In conclusion, these three grotesque-filled stories all dealt with the harshness and brutality the real world has to offer.