A Rose for Emily Essay example

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A Rose for Emily: Antebellum South vs. Modern South

William Faulkner wrote, “A Rose for Emily.” In the gothic, short story he contrasted the lives of the people of a small Southern town during the late 1800’s, and he compared their ability and inability to change with the time. The old or “Antebellum South” was represented by the characters Miss Emily, Colonel Sartoris, the Board of Aldermen, and the Negro servant. The new or “Modern South” was expressed through the words of the unnamed narrator, the new Board of Aldermen, Homer Barron, and the townspeople. In the shocking story, “A Rose for Emily,” Faulkner used symbolism and a unique narrative perspective to describe Miss Emily’s inner struggles to accept
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Emily could not let Homer live, but she could not live without him. He was her only love. When she poisoned him with arsenic, she believed he would be hers forever.
The symbolism between the past and the present was also shown in the beginning of the story when Faulkner wrote, “…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.” It was ironic that the same description “stubborn and coquettish decay” could be a description for Emily as well (71). As the house fell into decay, so did Miss Emily, “She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water and of that pallid hue.” Miss Emily was described as “a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head” (72). Traditionally, in the Old South people wore black while they were grieving the death of a loved one. The cane she used was a symbol of her physical weakness. The mystery of the descending gold chain was then revealed; “Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain” (72). This invisible ticking symbolized Emily’s unwillingness to recognize the passing of time. The house was set on “what had once been the most select street” (71). The fact that Emily never maintained
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