Analysis Of William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily

Satisfactory Essays
Jessica Reed Lewis
EH 224
Dr. Jesses
4 April 2014
Decay of Southern Ways
“Then we knew that this was to be expected too; as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman’s life so many times had been too virulent and too furious to die.”( Faulkner1002). “A Rose for Emily” is perhaps one of William Faulkner’s most famous works. Through his creative abilities he is able to knit together a story full of symbolism, contrast, and moral worth. Faulkner develops a character by the name of Miss Emily Grierson; to not only tell a story of complete scandal, but to illustrate his own views on the south post-Civil War. Faulkner describes the true views of the old south in “A Rose For Emily”, through Miss Emily’s influence of her father and the town, her confused views of love, and the decay of her way of living.
William Faulkner’s story takes place in the south, during a time period of major political change, right after the Civil War. Miss Emily Grierson grew up in a well-provided southern family, with an overpowering father driving out all possible suitors of the town. Emily’s father is the first to make Emily a superior to idolize, by keeping her separated from her own peers. After her fathers’ death, the town assumed the role of her father. Miss Emily is still idolized by the townspeople because she represents the old south and their past tradition and customs. “Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town…” (Faulkner 998). Twice in the story a reader can find that the narrator refers to Miss Emily as an idol, which is a metaphor because even though she was an idol to town, she must be revered in the end, just as the antebellum period was revered. After the C...

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...nd coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps- an eyesore among eyesore” (Faulkner 998). Not only is Emily a monument but her house is a monument of the old south as well. Another aspect of decay is the aging of the town. Miss Emily and her family’s were once well-respected citizens in the town of Jefferson. Now as the town starts to become northernized, the townspeople start to change their views of her. The old ways of living in the south died with the generation of her father.
“A Rose for Emily” is a way for Faulkner to contrast the Old South and the New South. It is Falkner’s way of warning old south of the dangers of just living in the past or the present, and that both sides must work together to create harmony. Faulkner uses Emily to convey that the death of the old southern ways were eminent and show just how dangerous they could be.
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