Marriage is a life long commitment between two people. Vows are taken as a promise to one another, Till Death Do us Part may be the most well known vow, but with the two women I will be discussing they take it into their own hands to speed up the process. The following stories are about two women who commit murder in some form, perhaps intentional or not who are not punished as far as the story tells us. Fortunately, we have a legal system that is designed to prevent these homicides and programs specifically designed to help women in cases like these that feel they have no other choice but to murder their husband o achieve freedom.
As you will see these women were so desperate that they felt murder was their only option. One woman did it for freedom, and the other for companionship, both are murderers any way you put it. Emily Grierson, lived alone in an old eyesore of a house that no one had been inside of since she stopped giving china painting lessons ten years ago. She was considered a tradition in her town, and was shown special treatment thanks to a former mayor whod pardoned her from the rules that applied to negro women at that time.
However, the next generation didnt look upon Emily so kindly. Tax forms were onstantly mailed to her home, the townspeople found the smell that seeped from her home so unbearable that they snuck onto her property to correct the situation. Emily had no contact with the townspeople, Until she met Homer Barron, a Northerner foreman, notorious for drinking and taking a liking to younger men. Within a few days, Emily and Homer were seen riding together in a buggy, and spending alot of time together.
The townspeople thought that the they would marry, but when they heard that Emily bought arsenic they assumed she would kill herself and were happy for her, they said it would be the best hing . When the streets were done Homer disappeared, it was assumed that he went to prepare for his marriage to Emily. He returned a few days later and was never seen again. Miss Emily was seen buying a mens toiletry set along with mens clothing including a night shirt, from that point on it is assumed that they are married . Some time after that, Miss Emily passed away.
A funeral was held, and once she was in the ground, the townspeople opened up the room that noone had seen in nearly forty years, what they found was quite disturbing. A room set up for a bridal with a mans suit and shoes looked almost as if it ere just placed there, with the exception of the dust and discoloring. They found the man it belonged to laying in the bed decomposed with traces of an embrace that had long been unreturned. It was Homer Barron, and the pillow next to him had an indentation with a long strand of iron gray hair resting on it.
Miss Emily was unavailable for questioning due to her death, so it is assumed that the arsenic from earlier in the story was not used for rats, but to keep Homer there with her, for fear of loneliness or perhaps she was insane, the author does not disclose this information. I think that she killed him in fear that he would leave her, and this is the first man she would be permitted to see since her fathers watchful eyes were no longer around. This is truly a case of homicide, unlike the next story I will discuss where intentional murder is committed in a different way.
Delia Jones is a washwoman in a poverty stricken area of Florida. She is married to a man named Sykes who is abusive to her in more ways than one. The verbal abuse is more evident than the physical aspect of it. Delia had to endure years of Sykes comments on her weight and profession, long with being assaulted and tormented by his cruel jokes. Sykes openly has an affair with a fat woman named Bertha. He was paying for her to stay in town, even though Delia was at home cooking and cleaning, trying to make a living.
Sykes preys on Delias fear of snakes from the beginning of the story, first with the whip resting on her shoulder, then he takes it too far and brings home a real snake. After asking him numerous times to get rid of the snake Delia finally voices her aggression and hate for her husband. He doesnt hit her this time, he makes a few threats and retreats out the door. When Sykes didnt return that night, Delia felt great, thinking maybe he was really gone for good, freedom at last. While she is finishing her wash she spots the snake in a basket, somehow it escaped from its soap box in the kitchen.
Without a second glance Delia ran out of the house and climbed onto the roof of the haybarn. She slept there, too scared to go back into the house. In the morning she sees Sykes go into the house and doesnt warn him of the loose snake, and after a few minutes she hears screaming that doesnt sound of human nature. She watches rom the window as a struggle ensues, and as she approaches the door she sees Sykes dragging himself half dead to get help, but she just looks, turns away and waits for death to take its toll; comforting herself with the feeling that the doctor was too far to save him.
In both of these stories the women committed murder. Emily poisoned Homer Barron . Delia watched her husband die, but didnt do it with her own two hands. Both are at fault morally but legally is another question. Emily Grierson was of sound body and mind when she purchased the arsenic she later used on Homer. Her killing him was premeditated, however I dont think that she fully understood the consequences of her actions.
According to the modern penal law which is based on U. S. vs. Brawner,471 F. D 969(1972), if she did not possess substantial capacity to either appreciate the criminality of her conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirement of the law. I personally think she knew what she was doing, but with all the loop holes in the criminal justice system Emily could easily slip through with the insanity defense. If that did not work for her, she could also use the iminished capacity defense which also examines mental competence,but it is merely pleading to a lesser crime. Unlike Delia, who did not intentionally murder Sykes.
She didnt place the snake in the house, nor did she lure him into the house. Delia watched her husband die which is not a murder charge because she didnt actually commit the crime. According to Article 63 of Frances Penal code Any person who willfully fails to render or to obtain assistance to an endangered person when such was possible without danger to himself or others, shall be subject to imprisonment… in the U. S. we have a similar law, called the duty to aid law, but it is hard to prove that the witness in question really heard or saw the endangered person.
There was a famous case of a woman who was stabbed 38 times in the doorway of an apartment building in broad daylight with over thirty witnesses and not one person called the police or tried to help the woman who died of blood loss. This woman laid there for forty minutes and bled to death before the police arrived, when all it would of took was simple phone call to save her life. I think that is very similar to what Delia did and if she were prosecuted all she would have to say is that she arrived after he was already dead.
I dont think the insanity defense applies to Delia in any way. She was fully aware of what she was doing. Unlike Emily who knew what she was doing, but somehow saw justification in keeping Homers corpse in her bedroom, Emly doesnt appear to be the most mentally stable woman. Delia hated her husband and saw this as her chance for freedom, so she let him suffer and die. Emily just didnt want to lose him whether it be to another woman or whatever other dillusional ideas she had.