Southern Innfluences In "A ROSE For Emily"

Southern Innfluences In "A ROSE For Emily"

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William Faulkner’s classic short story, “A Rose for Emily,” has been noted as an excellent example of Southern literature. Southern literature can be defined as literature about the South, written by authors who were reared in the South. Characteristics of southern literature are the importance of family, sense of community, importance of religion, importance of time, of place, and of the past, and use of Southern voice and dialect. Most of the novels are written as a Southerner actually speaks. Many books also describe the historical importance of the Southern town.

William Faulkner was a twentieth century American author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Most famous for his novel The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner defines Southern literature. In his mythical county of Yaknapatawpha, Faulkner contrasted the past with the present era. The past was represented in Emily Grierson, Colonel Sartoris, the Board of Alderman, and the Negro servant. Homer Barron, the new Board of Alderman, and the new sheriff represented the present.

Homer was the main representative of Yankee views towards the Griersons and the entire South, a situation of the present. Emily held the view of the past as if it were a rose-tinted place where nothing would ever die. Her world was already the past. Whenever the modern times were about to take hold of her, she retreated to that world of the past, and took Homer with her. Her room upstairs was that place, a place where Emily could stay with dead Homer forever as though no death nor disease could separate them.

Homer had lived in the present, and Emily eventually conquered that. Emily’s family was a monument of the past; Emily herself was referred to as a “fallen monument.” She was a relic of Southern gentility and past values. She had been considered fallen because she had been proven susceptible to death and decay like the rest of the world. As for the importance of family, Emily was really close to her father. He was very protective of her and extremely dominating.

The entire town had a tableau of the two of them, Miss Emily was a slender figure in white in the background, and her father was a sprawled figure in the foreground, his back defensively turned to her and clutching a horsewhip with the dark boundary of the door framing them. The town also believed the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were.

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Miss Emily came off as rather snobbish and stuck up, seeming to be thinking that just because she was a Grierson she was better than everyone else. The sense of community ties in here because this story is basically narrated by the locals, remembered. All the people whispered behind their jalousies about Miss Emily and her father.

In the style this story was written, the time sequence skips around, as if someone were actually remembering it at the moment. The narrator speaks of who attended Miss Emily’s funeral, and then they go back to the story of Emily and Homer. The technique of writing as one thinks is known as stream of consciousness. The narrator’s thoughts of the story appear to be jumbled, and the opinions sometimes contradict themselves. It is mixed to better show the confusion about time and reality, and how the people want to remember it.

At Emily’s funeral, the Confederate soldiers recalled courting Emily and dancing with her when they never did such a thing. They remembered it as they wanted it to have happened, and they can do that because no one can change the past. Faulkner succeeded in writing a work of Southern literature that displays a romantic pull of the past and the idea that submission to this romance was a form of death. Thematically, death conquers all. The story of Miss Emily Grierson from Yaknapatawpha County is a tale depicting the romance of the South combined with the story itself created a captivating atmosphere, a world where no one wants to leave.
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