literary themes in Faulkner's 'A Rose For Emily'

Essay by JustKimiCollege, UndergraduateB+, March 2013

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After World War One, there were many changes occurring in the world. Man's need to follow longstanding tradition was being challenged by a continually changing and modernizing world. The past and the present often collided. William Faulkner, a southern born writer, aptly reflects the turmoil of the past and the present in "A Rose for Emily". The conflict between the past and the present is symbolized in the beginning of the story by this description, "only now Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores" (91). It is ironic that the same description "stubborn and coquettish decay" can be a description for Miss Emily herself as well. Miss Emily had becoming just like her house, which had once been white and on a "select street", she had been a slim young lady dressed in white but as the house fell into a decrepit state so had she.

"She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water and of that pallid hue" (92).

The town played a definite part in Miss Emily's mental delusion. There were numerous complaints of a foul stench coming from her property and yet no one addressed it to her directly. A younger member of the Board of Aldermen suggested that Miss Emily be told to clean up her property. But due to the old southern ideals of honor, duty and loyalty the older, the more traditional members could not possibly confront her about this matter as 'Dammit sir", Judge Stevens said," will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?"(93) So in the midnight hour they chose to slunk about the house and apply lime to the infected areas. Lime is a white powder that is good...