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"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

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“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is a southern gothic story first published in 1930. The story of Emily Grierson’s life parallels the struggle the South faced when breaking away from its antebellum past into modernity. The story is narrated collectively by the citizens of Jefferson—a seemingly average small southern town. The narrator tells the story of Emily Grierson—the town reclusive eccentric who died before accepting the changes brought forth from the post-civil war south. Emily Grierson is seen as a hereditary obligation by the town’s citizens. She is the object of discussion to the point of fanaticism. She is a relic of the old south who lives in a once grand manor that is now the eyesore of town. Like the house, Emily has gone from a young pretty maiden of the south with numerous suitors, to being a spinster—last seen ten years before. Emily has lost her domineering father, her last suitor and her old way of life. Her failure to change has caused isolation which has evolved into a macabre grasp at normalcy. This has left Emily’s life to succumb to decay—both literally and figuratively. The theme of the story is the fear of change can cause the human spirit to decay. “A Rose for Emily” is written in the first person plural, allow the citizens of the town to recount the story. This point of view has been debated by scholars due to its collective language of “we”, which set Emily apart from the town’s citizens. Helen E. Nebeker writes in her literary criticism, “Emily’s Rose of Love: Thematic Implication of Point of View in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”: “The thesis of this paper simply stated, is that forty years of critical study of Faulkner’s short story, “A Rose for Emily”, has failed to come to... ... middle of paper ... ...ous transformation. “A Rose for Emily”, is successful in relating this stubborn transformation and he does well to liken it to the broken human spirit encased in Emily Grierson. Works Cited Bausch, Richard & Cassill, R.V. " The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction ". 7th. New York: Norton & Company, Inc., 2006. Book. Kurtz, Elizabeth Carney. ""A Rose for Emily"." The Explicator 44. 2 Pg. 40. Winter 1986. Electronic. 9 April 2014. . Mosby, Charmaine Allmon. ""A Rose for Emily"." Masterplots Fourth Edition (2010): Pg. 1-3. Journal . Nebeker, Helen E. "" Emily's Rose of Love: Thematic Implication of Point of View in Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"." Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. 1. Vol. 24. March 1970. Bulletin. 19 April 2014. .