The Individual Versus the Community

Essay by pinkittyCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 2010

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The Civil War has remained in the American history as one of the mostdestructive wars that led to the death of thousands of people and brought seriouseffects on every aspect of the life of Americans, including politics and economy.

The Civil War is also known as the first and last internal conflict among Americans.

The main feature of this war was the division between the North and theSouth regarding slavery. Like most historical events, the Civil War has drawnthe attention of literature upon itself. Therefore, William Faulkner, a Nobel Prizenovelist and short-story writer, in his short-story "A Rose for Emily," motivated bythe Civil War, focuses on the Southern aristocracy and its mentality and givesus the chance to be acquainted with the South, something that history does notreally provide. Apart from that, through the figure of Emily Grierson, the author addressesa matter that is contemporary in our days: the life of a celebrity and howthe extreme love of the public can prove destructive to him/her.

T he author uses Emily Grierson, the main character in this short-story,as the typical representative of the Southern aristocracy. When reading the story,we figure out little by little the mentality of the Southern aristocracy, concerningthe position they had in the society and generally we understand the way theyconsidered life. By telling us the story of Emily, Faulkner aims at addressing threemain contradictory issues, including North versus South, old generation versusnew generation and individual versus community. These concepts are irreconcilablewith one another and each of them is reflected in the tragic figure of EmilyGrierson.

In order to illustrate those conflicts the author uses symbolism. First ofall, we clearly see the conflict between North and South. Therefore, on the oneside we have Emily's house described as "…a big, squarish frame house thathad once been...