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A Rose for Emily

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A Rose for Emily

William Faulkner

The story, A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner takes the reader on a struggle between old and new: and tradition and modern times. It is a struggle that is all too common in the Southern part of the United States. A tradition that is passed down through the generations along with family stories and precious heirlooms; it has caused a lack of happiness in many people clinging to the old southern ways. On one side you have the ever changing world always pushing toward a more modern time. It is a world fresh with new ideas and new ways of doing things. Across the great divide you have another world. It is a world that is steeped in tradition and old fashioned values. It is a world of fine breeding and properness. It is a world clinging desperately to the past like The South itself. Once grand and proud and filled with bustling plantations the South of this story is still trying desperately to recover from the destruction of the Civil War. It is a region torn between tradition and modern times. A region missing the old ways but knowing they will be no more. Time marches forward, stopping for no man or woman.

The main character of this story is Emily Grierson. Emily Grierson is a testament to a time long gone. She lives her life as if time has stood still. She refuses to change even when the community around her is changing rapidly. Through most of the story Emily hides herself from the world around her by staying in her dilapidated antebellum home that was once styled in grandeur. After her Father's death, Emily is devastated and all alone. Mr Grierson who felt no suitor was good enough for his well bred daughter controls her life even from the grave. Emily is sad and lonely living her life as an eccentric recluse.

Her servant, Tobe, is a tribute as well, to a time long gone. He is a self- styled southern butler similar to the pre-civil war servant. He handles all of the errands and is the only sign of life around Emily Grierson's home. His being there keeps Emily able to live her life as a recluse.

The people of the community are torn about Emily. The community respects her for her old fashioned values and representation of a time that seemed safer and slower but the community also pity's her for her eccentric lifestyle. The community watches her life with a curious mixture of concern and disdain. It is almost as if they, too, want to keep the old south alive, if only through Emily's strange lifestyle. Poor Emily, who once had so many suitors is now desperate and lonely. The community hopes that she can find someone who matches her fine upbringing and become disappointed when she does not. They try to help Emily in their discreet, Southern way. Emily does not have to pay her property tax when it becomes clear that she can not afford it and when a strange smell



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