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Essay On A Rose For Emily

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Rebecca Kinard
Professor Scollon
English 102 Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:45-3:00
3 February 2014
Old South’s Refusal
The short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner describes the Old South’s inability to change. Emily Grierson is the ideal definition of what the Old South represents. Faulkner describes her as being “a fallen monument” (1). She is unable to let go of her life when her father was still alive, like so many people were when the Civil War ended. They did not want things to change. So in result, she shuts herself out from the new society starting to form all around her. She refuses to pay her taxes and shuts her doors for many years at a time. However, as the years go by and the generations age and die. The old way of society is altered and changed. Faulkner uses Emily to shows the South’s inability to change even though everything around them was.
Many people saw the south after the Civil War as being bruised and injured. The southerners did not want to imagine themselves as being battered so they hung to their old ways and avoided the true reality. Things were changing all around them. Miss Emily shows this character trait when she refuses to pay her taxes and she tells them, “See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson” (10). Even though Colonel Sartoris had been dead ten years when she told them this. When her father died she had no one left, so she found comfort in living in the old ways. She made time stop in her “big, squarish frame house” (2).
Faulkner uses several symbols throughout the story to represent the inability for change. When her father dies she refuses to allow him to be buried. She denied that he even had died. She was raised by him and felt that connection that they had even after he...

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...ught to go by promises and someone’s word. However the New South feels that the law and what is written is the only way. Judge Stevens feels the same way as Emily. When the townspeople come forward with complaints of the bad smell coming from her house. He says, “Dammit, sir will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?” (24)
Emily Grierson is a good example of how the Old South functioned. They were proud and unable to accept that times were changing. She had wanted things to stay the same so badly that she shut herself in her house unwelcoming for anyone to enter. She could not handle her father’s death and tried very hard to isolate herself from the world changing. She took up a lover and then decided to murder him when she realizes she will not be able to marry him. Her entire way of life shows you a perfect example of the Old South’s inability to change.
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