A Rose For Emily By William Faulkner Essay

A Rose For Emily By William Faulkner Essay

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In William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily, the story follows Emily Grierson’s life after her father passes away. After her father’s death, Emily is stuck in a delusional state where time has stopped for her. In the town of Jefferson, time is progressing forward. Due to the difference in mental state between Emily and the town, a rift is created between the two. There exist two entities: Emily and the town. The distinction between the two causes Emily to be isolated. Due to being ostracized in the town, Emily denies and clings onto those who were close to her. Through the use of various literary devices, Faulkner is able to convey themes of change in the south, death and isolation.
During the life of Emily’s father, he was pardoned from paying the taxes of the town. During her father’s life, “Emily 's father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying” (I). The town repaid the Grierson by dismissing their taxes. After Emily’s father had passed, the town continued to pardon Emily from paying taxes. She was “tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (I). At the time, she had no one else but her father. The town was still indebted to Emily’s father, so for the duration of Colonel Sartoris’ life, Emily did not pay any taxes. However, when the town was handed over to the next generation, they began to ask Emily to pay taxes. The subject of the story is represented by the decline of the traditional south prior to the civil war to the new south post-civil war. Emily was a child during the Civil war. Her father, who lived prior to the civil war, was accustomed to the old aristocratic south. Being raised in the old aristocratic way, Emily felt the o...


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...very rose has its thorns,” Emily is seen to not just be an ordinary person. Her stubbornness and off-putting characteristics is due to her upbringing that leads to her isolation. Her father’s actions of shielding Emily from forming relationships with any man attributes to why she felt isolated from the town. If not for her father’s intervention, she would have been able to create bonds with the town. His old aristocratic mindset made him believe that no man is good enough for his daughter. “All the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (II). What she had left to hold onto was her upbringing. The South was evolving away from the tradition, aristocratic ways. Emily’s upbringing and the evolving South clashed, causing Emily to be isolated from the growing community.

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