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William Faulkners A Rose for Emily is a Southern Gothic short story. A Rose for Emily tells the tale of a young woman who lives and abides by her fathers strict lifestyle and rules.

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Introduction

Terry Harrison "A Rose for Emily" William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" is a Southern Gothic short story. "A Rose for Emily" tells the tale of a young woman who lives and abides by her fathers strict lifestyle and rules. The story is narrated in first person but told as "we" acting as the voice of the town. The story really shows symbolic changes in the South. Beginning when you are first introduced to the main character Emily Grierson at her own funeral. As the story unfolds it's told out of chronological order and not with a steady progression of time Faulkner is able to illustrate the way in which Emily will continually want to hold on to the past and to show the idea of conflict between the new and the old within the story. Throughout the story Faulkner foreshadows the ending and suspenseful events in Emily's life and other crazy circumstances. ...read more.

Middle

The way in which the decaying house is described symbolizes Miss Emily's physical and emotional decay, as well as her 'mental problems'. Just as the house seems to reject progress and updating, so does Emily, until eventually they both become decaying symbols of their dying generation. The characteristics of the house symbolize Emily's appearance as she becomes worn and tiered with neglect. ". . . coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores" (79). The ways in which Emily physically changes is the ways in which her house begins to change and she along with her house, became an 'eyesore'. Emily had once been a beautiful and desired young woman among men and now, later in life she has become "bloated like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue" (80). The same way in which the house is described as "smelling of dust and disuse," proof of Emily's aging is show when her voice is said to be "dry and cold" (80). ...read more.

Conclusion

Right after her fathers death Emily's hair goes from a long to a short hairstyle. The change in style symbolizes the freedom that she obtained after her fathers death. The older she gets the more her hair color changes to a "iron-gray, like that of an active man" (83). The color symbolizes Emily's stubbornness when it comes to newness and change. Lastly the story represents the "Old South". Emily's stubborn attitude is a very southern attitude and heritage. She refused to believe that the times were changing and refused to change with them along with the rest of society. The southern heritage is also apparent through Emily's strict and repetitive ways. She is considered a "monument" of Souther manners and an ideal of old and past values. The "Old South's" generation was decaying quite fast by the everyday changing traditions as well as mannerisms. When Emily finally passes away at the end of the story that is also a metaphorical death of her and her house both becoming symbols of the dying generation that Emily was very much apart of. Death is prevalent, both literally and figuratively, in "A rose for Emily". ...read more.

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