Custom, Change, Death & Dust

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Through the majority of Southern Gothic works of literature, there are always intense and rebellious behaviors that are the root of societal problems and they always result in an emotional uproar done so by the majority as the unwanted behaviors go against the code of conduct. In the grotesque short story "A Rose for Emily," author William Faulkner begins his story with the death of the protagonist, Miss Emily Grierson and how the townspeople had gone to her house to pay their respects. With the use of flashbacks and flash forwards, the narrator, whom can only be a mere townsperson, takes the reader through the bumpy ride that was Emily Grierson's life. We learn that she lived (and died) alone after her father died, although she did have a mysterious lover who disappeared after sometime but she spent most of her life in solitude and did not really associate with the townspeople. The entire story has a small Southern setting and the overarching theme of changing times and death mesh well with the setting. Even though the short story is multidimensional in most of its literary aspects, the theme, plot, setting, and character development are the strongest and more unique facets, as they develop the story and are the most vital in interpreting the story accurately. Throughout the story, themes of tradition and change and death tie together with the setting and motifs illustrated. Plot ties in with the theme of death as the story is non linear and ends with the climatic statement, "One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair"(Faulkner 59). Right before Emily's hair was found on the pillow, her previous lover's corpse was fo... ... middle of paper ... ...lot of the story which centers around obscurity. Plot, theme, setting, and character development are all integral parts of any piece of literature and they are especially important to "A Rose for Emily." The overarching theme of the story could be the idea of custom versus change and death tie into the theme as the setting and plot are centered around death. Emily's character is also important in analyzing the other literary elements as it explains how the plot ensued as it did and how her personality was similar to the setting and symbols as well. Southern gothic themes are relatively similar in that they all center around innocence lost and peculiar and enigmatic characters that defer from the norm of society, which is very much encapsulated in the short story. Works Cited Meyer, Michael. Literature to Go. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. Print.

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