According to Charmaine Mosby, “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, accentuates one of his primary themes: “change and decay.” The reader clearly acknowledges Emily’s denial to change as Faulkner describes how she refused to accept her father’s death. Hence, this foreshadowed why Emily kept Homer Barron’s corpse. Her inability to let go and accept the changing reality forced her “combine life and death in her own person.” Mosby further emphasizes Faulkner’s theme by mentioning that the gray long hair found next to Homer’s corpse symbolized Emily’s interaction between them even after his death. In addition to this theme, Mosby also reveals that another theme: the erosion of the social structure of the 20th century by the industrialized South. Mosby claims that Faulkner emphasized the acceptance of Homer and Emily’s relationship from the Jefferson’s community to enable the reader to realize how the change of views to modern ideals.
A Rose for Emily is a southern gothic short story about an elderly woman stuck in her ways. When we are first introduced to Emily it is at her funeral where the entire town has come to falsely pay their respects. The men only went to Emily’s funeral because they viewed her as a fallen monument and the women only went out of curiosity to peer inside Emily’s house, which had been closed up to the world and shrouded in mystery for decades. Throughout the story, the narrator gradually describes Emily’s descent into madness and her unwillingness to accept the change happening around her. The central theme of A Rose for Emily focuses on the never-ending battle between tradition and change, which is expertly portrayed by William Faulkner’s use of
In William Faulkner 's short story "A Rose for Emily", Faulkner brings attention to an elderly woman, Miss Emily in small-town Jefferson. Miss Emily was left with nothing but the house she had always lived in when her father passed away. With the death of her father, Emily 's life changes. The story is divided into five sections and begins with Miss Emily 's funeral, then switches over to talk about the new modern ideas and the requirements for Miss Emily. Miss Emily came from a wealthy family whom the colonel pardoned from paying their taxes. When new government officials came into office, they insisted Miss Emily pay her taxes, and she refused. This was not the only complaint townspeople had about Emily. The townspeople had multiple complaints about Miss
In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," we see how past events affect the life of the main character Miss Emily, especially her inability to accept change. Throughout the story Miss Emily goes to extreme measures to protect her social status. Miss Emily lives in the past to shield herself from a future that holds no promises and no guarantees. William Faulkner illustrates Miss Emily's inability to accept change through the physical, social and historical settings, all of which are intimately related to the Grierson house.
How would today’s society treat a situation such as Emily Grierson different from the society during the time period of the story? This a question that some will think about after reading a story such as this as well as how it will affect individuals’ lives. The residents in the strict small town of Jefferson already did not agree on how Emily was living with her lover let alone what she did to him shook them up as well. People today probably would have sympathy for Grierson knowing what she her life was like that lead to this horrific event happen.
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” weaves the tale of the troubled Miss Emily Grierson as she struggles against the modernization taking place around her that threatens to disrupt her idealized perception of the past, a woman who is so incapable of adaptation, that she wages a crusade of personal isolation against the changing times in order to protect the only way of life she has ever known. Faulkner tells us Emily herself is a tradition, “Alive Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care” (p 125). As such, her character is depicted as the physical embodiment of tradition, giving human form to the concept of stasis of time, in that she stubbornly stays the same over the years despite, or more accurately, in spite of, the many changes going on around her. Faulkner also refers to her as an “idol”, which furthers the concept of her personification of the past. Emily, much like a statue erected in the town square to pay homage to past idols, is literally frozen in time. She refuses mail service, refuses to pay taxes, and eventually refuses to leave her home, effectively blunting the progression of time, and leaving the townspeople to speculate on the strange recluse that is Miss Emily Grierson. Her inability to let go of the past paralyzes her and prevents her from embracing any kind of future, or even functioning in the present. Her unwillingness to accept the change that inevitably accompanies passing time provides the framework for a less obvious, but no less important, underlying theme in “A Rose for Emily”.
In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily”, the reader observes the life of Emily Grierson. The reader learns about Emily’s life from the townsfolk from her teenage years all the way to Emily’s death from various points in her life. Emily is a person with a possible mental disorder, who struggles with letting go and how it affects Emily’s grasp on past and present. Emily’s life is one that fascinates and captures the reader’s attention and leads to decade’s worth of arguments amongst generations of readers.
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” was originally published in the April 30th, 1930. It’s quite possibly his most famous, most popular, and most intriguing short story. An unnamed narrator describes the strange circumstances of Miss Emily’s life and her strange relationships with her father, her lover Homer, and the horrible mystery she conceals within the once beautiful but now run down estate she lives in. It’s the south, Mississippi to be exact, and they’ve recently lost the Civil War and soon they are about to struggle with up keeping their southern tradition. Miss Emily who can be considered a classic outsider, transforms from a highly sought after young lady to a grimly secretive old woman. There are many causes that led her to turn out this way. Faulkner uses symbolism as a way to show the read what happened throughout the story.
“A Rose for Emily” takes place in a time where the Civil War had recently come to a close. Emily came from a family that was by no means poor. In fact, her house was extravagant when it was first built. “But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood, only Miss Emily’s house was left” (Faulkner, 52). Just one example, of how Emily Grierson was not able to adapt to change. In this instance, she fails to adapt to the community that is developing around her.
Faulkner decides to use the point of view that the members of the town possess for Ms. Emily Grierson. This point of view works best in A Rose for Emily because it attracts the audiences' curiosity for the mysterious Miss Emily just as the town is lured. It is as if you are one of the societal members of the town. Because of the generations and societal changes that Miss Emily withstands and resists the audience is able to better understand the true mystery that the town feels towards her. She is a model of tradition to the town and by their acceptance of her they accept that the past is always the present. For instance, she exempted her taxes once therefore she will never owe taxes to the town, a means of the past always being part of the present.
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” illustrates the struggle that comes from trying to maintain tradition in a world that is always expanding and changing its views on everything (SparkNotes Editors). The city of Jefferson, the setting, is at a crossroads of moving towards a modern future much different from the archaic views from before the Civil War. Emily’s house is the last relic of the dying world of Southern aristocracy. She and her home are still lingering in the past and unwilling to change with the community it is in. Through flashback, symbolism, and allusion, Faulkner is able to show Emily as she relates to the theme of this short story. During the period of publication, this short story could relate to those still struggling with trying to live post Civil War and go along with the change in times unlike Emily.
The main character in the short story “A Rose for Emily” written by William Faulkner is Emily Grierson. She lives in Jefferson Mississippi, in a fictional county called Yoknapatawpha County. The people of Yoknapatawpha saw Miss Emily as "a small, fat woman" who was very cold, distant, and lived in her past. Her home "was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies...”. She lived in a little community that was changing and becoming more modern unlike her house. Her house, as Faulkner describes, "...smelled of dust and disuse-a close, dank smell"; "it was furnished in heavy, leather-covered furniture". The look of Emily’s home bothered Emily’s community along with many other things about her. Emily has a "hereditary obligation upon the town". She is from a family of wealth that brought tradition to Yoknapatawpha County. When the town started making modern changes fitting into the next generation Emily became stubborn and showed this by refusing to pay taxes to her county. Emily repeats, "I have no taxes in Jefferson" four times before dismissing the deputation. Thomas Robert Argiro, the author of a critical essay called “Miss Emily After Dark” states that, “[Emily]… struggles with personal grief, a restricted social life, socio-economic decline, and romantic misfortune…” (par.2). Miss Emily is misunderstood by the townspeople and is resistant to the changes around her as well in her life.
In “A Rose for Emily”, William Faulkner uses imagery and symbolism to both illustrate and strengthen the most prevalent theme; Emily’s resistance to change. William Faulkner seems to reveal this theme through multiple descriptions of Miss Grierson’s actions, appearance, and her home. Throughout the short story it is obvious that Emily has a hard time letting go of her past, she seems to be holding onto every bit of her past. Readers see this shown in several ways, some more obvious than others.
The stylistic choices such as themes, point of view, and figures of speech by William Faulkner in his short story “A Rose for Emily” are specifically chosen to illustrate the collective perspective the townsfolk have on Miss. Emily. The gothic story features moments of emotional vacillations that enhance the uncertainty and suspense throughout the entire story. Specific to the passage Faulkner uses particular writing devices to draw attention to key ideas such as traditional values, culture and gender roles, and the idea of pity. Throughout the passage it becomes apparent that tradition is valued deeply by the townspeople but keeping a watchful eye on Miss. Emily is just as relevant in their daily lives.
In a “Rose for Emily”, Faulkner uses Emily’s house as a symbol of the barrier Emily forms between herself and society. As society moves through generations and changes over the years, Emily remains the same, within the borders of her own household. The house is described as “in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street”(125), but years passed and more modern houses had “obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood” (125). Faulkner set the house apart from the rest of the neighborhood, and Emily is described in the beginning as “a fallen monument” and a “tradition” indicating that she had not changed in an extended amount of time. The symbol of the house, remaining unchanged through the decades that passed becomes stronger when Emily does not permit tax collectors to pass through the threshold of the house, “She vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before”. Emily’s image of a “monument” to the community’s small society caused her to become exempt from the demands of the state that the rest of the population had to adhere to. Emily’s house enab...