"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner.

Essay by sic13itchUniversity, Bachelor'sA, October 2003

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The Past Is the Present After World War One, there were many changes occurring in the world. Man's inherent need to follow tradition was now being challenged by a continually changing, modern world. The past and the present often conflicted. William Faulkner, a southern born writer, based much of his novels and short stories on this conflict. He 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" (331). It is ironic that the same description " stubborn and coquettish decay" can be a description for Miss Emily as well. And just like her house, which had once been white and on a " select street", Miss Emily had been a slim young girl dressed in white.

But as the house fell into decay so had Miss Emily," she looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue"(332). The town played a part in Miss Emily's delusion. There were numerous complaints of a foul stench permeating from her property. 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. "Dammit sir", Judge Stevens said," will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad"(333)? So in the midnight hour they chose to " slunk about the house" and apply lime to the infected areas. Then thirty years...