The Transition from Old to New South

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The rise and industrialization of the South began with the end of the Civil War. This aided in the transition from Old to New South, from a time of poverty and slave labor to a more progressive time. The decline of the Old South was often unaccepted and ignored by southerners as they tried to cling to their past ways. Faulkner highlights the cultural shift from Old to New South through character relationships and personalities in his short stories “A Rose for Emily,” “That Evening Sun,” and “Red Leaves.” The main character in William Faulkner’s story “A Rose for Emily,” Miss Emily, is a representation of the Old South. While she is still alive, the townspeople have a certain respect for her because she has been there so long; they do not feel a need to change what has always been. Nevertheless, once she dies what is left of her, such as her house, is a disgrace to the town. “Only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores... Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily” 119). In the same way, the people of the South followed tradition in their lifestyles. The Southerners were brought up with certain ideas and actions engrained in their minds, and they did not realize the shame behind what they did. After the transition to New Southern ways, however, the Southerners easily saw the disgrace behind these traditions. The inability to leave the past behind is a reoccurring theme in both the South and in “A Rose for Emily.” “Drawing on the tradition of Gothic literature in America, particularly Southern Gothic, the story uses grotesque imagery an... ... middle of paper ... ...tory Criticism. By Jelena Krstovic. Vol. 92. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 86-93. Literature Criticism Online. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. Kazin, Alfred. “Old Boys, Mostly American: William Faulkner, The Short Stories.” Contemporaries (1962): 154-58. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Laurie Lanzen Harris and Sheila Fitzgerald. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1988. 161-2. Literature Criticism Online. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. Parker, Robert Dale. “Red Slippers and Cottonmouth Moccasins: White Anxieties in Faulkner’s Indian Stories.” Faulkner Journal 18.1-2 (2002-03): 81-99. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jelena Kristovic. Vol. 92. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 136-46. Literature Criticism Online. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. "William Faulkner (1897-1962)." Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jelena Krstovic. Vol. 97. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2007. 1-3. Literature Criticism Online. Gale. Hempfield High School. 31 March 2010.
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