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A Rose For Emily Analysis English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 775 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In the story “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner shows Miss Emilys inability to accept change. Through the physical, social and historical settings, Faulkner explains what struggles Miss Emily is facing. Miss Emily lives in the past to protect herself from a future that is uncertain. Miss Emily goes to great lengths to protect her social status. The physical, social, and historical settings not just have a relation to Miss Emily but also has relation to the Grierson house.

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“Stubborn and coquettish decay,” is how Faulkner describes the Grierson house. He does this to remind us of Miss Emily’s inability to change and accept the future. The house was located on one of the best town of Jefferson. However, times changed and the town moved on towards the future. The houses were replaced by business such as car garages until only Miss Emily’s house was left. The Grierson house is a reminder that Miss Emily cannot accept change. Miss Emily refuses to change with the town because her family once was the center of it, and change means her family may not be the center of attention anymore. Emily is just like the Grierson house because, she seems to be held back in time and refuses to accept the future. The Grierson name was beginning to become less and less important in the town. Miss Emily finds herself in a conflict with the present in order to save her past.

As the town of Jefferson becomes modernized Miss Emily finds herself in a conflict of social power over the entire town of Jefferson. Miss Emily enjoyed the time she had back in the day when her family had power and when the Grierson name meant something. Miss Emily denies the death of her father to the townspeople for three days and becomes greedy over her father’s dead body because he had such a huge impact in her life. Miss Emily’s father robbed her of a happy life but also gave her everything she has today. Miss Emily feels helpless without her father’s presence in Jefferson because he was the man who made all the choices and decisions in her life. Without her father she feels less important to the community and does not know how to handle life without her father’s direction.

Emily wants to live in a place where nothing ever changes. When Miss Emily meets a man by the name of Homer Baron, a construction worker with a low social status, she falls in love with him. Even though Miss Emily is in love with Homer she feels he is not good enough for her, and this is ruining her social image. Miss Emily refers to Homer as just not the marrying type and is worried that he might leave her. If Homer was to leave Miss Emily, she believes that the townspeople of Jefferson will pity her for this. Miss Emily was once again facing the reality that her life can change, so she goes back to her world of the past and decides to takes Homer with her. Miss Emily purchased poison that will eventually seal Homer’s fate and will get rid of the only source of change she has ever had in her life. The room upstairs becomes her world of the past where she can stay with dead Homer forever and keep it a secret from the entire town.

Faulkner portrays historical setting in the book by having Miss Emily believe that the world she lives in is actually the past. However that is not the reality Miss Emily is facing. When asked if she received a tax notice from the sheriff she would ask for him to see Colonel Sartoris. Miss Emily believes that she is still exempt from paying taxes because in her mind she is still better than the rest of the town. “I have no taxes in Jefferson,” Faulkner shows with this quote that Miss Emily still believes that she believes her past is a reality. If Miss Emily pays her taxes she feels it will downgrade her to a regular status. She chooses to ignore time so that the Grierson name will always be important to the town of Jefferson and she can continue to live her life the way she wants.

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The physical, historical and social settings are connected through the Grierson house in unique ways that shows Miss Emily’s unwillingness to change with her environment. Miss Emily’s social status is the highlight of her life and in order to protect this she has to live her life in the past. When Miss Emily dies, the people of Jefferson learn about her secrets and the life she really lived. According to Miss Emily her attempts to keep her social status in the town of Jefferson worked. However the townspeople will not remember the Grierson family as one of high social status, but rather as one of insanity.


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