The difference between generations or generation gap is a popular theme among the world renowned writers. Within this context, alienation and socio-cultural exclusion faced by the elderly citizens is made use by William Faulkner in the work A Rose for Emily. …
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One can easily identify that the theme of socio-cultural alienation faced by elderly citizens is still a burning issue in the mainstream society. Thesis statement: In the short story A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, the narrator’s point of view, symbolism and irony reveal/ support/ emphasize the theme of alienation in the mainstream society. In this essay, the literary elements like the narrator’s point of view, symbolism and irony are made use to prove that the same reveal/ support/ emphasize the short story’s theme. The narrator’s point of view In the short story, the narrator’s point of view is linked with the new generation’s attitude towards Emily Grierson. From a different angle of view, the writer makes use of the narrator as a medium to expose the attitude of the new generation towards elderly citizens, especially the womenfolk. One can see that the narrator does not hesitate to attend Emily’s funeral and this proves the narrator’s empathetic attitude towards the marginalized individuals in the society. At the same time, the narrator does not try to reveal his sympathetic attitude towards Emily Grierson. Instead, the narrator leads the readers towards the circumstances which forced Emily to lead a secluded life. The writer makes use of a fictional county to unmask the tragic story. Within this context, narrator’s point of view is important because the same can be extended to a wider context. For instance, the problem of socio-cultural exclusion faced by Emily is applicable to the wider context of elderly citizens in the society. As pointed out, the narrator’s role in the story is not to produce sympathy towards Emily. Instead, the narrator’s point of view is symbolic of the wide gap between the old and the new generation. In the short story, the narrator symbolizes the new generation in the society, and the writer makes use of the narrator to expose the difference in attitude towards change. In short, the narrator’s point of view mirrors the writer’s point of view, i.e. empathy towards the marginalized individuals in the society. Symbolism The problems faced by Emily Grierson and her father Mr. Grierson, are symbolic of problems faced by the elderly citizens who are not ready to change. Shmoop stated that, “This Faulkner classic shows us the process by which human beings become isolated by their families, by their community, by tradition, by law, by the past, and by their own actions and choices” (7). For instance, Mr. Grierson considered that the youngsters in the society are not suitable for his daughter. This negative attitude eventually led his daughter to face alienation and socio-cultural exclusion in the society. Besides, Emily was deeply influenced by her father’s character and she refused to marry. Later, those who lived in Jefferson began to consider that Emily will find out a suitable youngster. But she did not try to do so because she was so proud about her ancestral lineage. In the end, Emily was forced to face social and cultural exclusion because she was not ready to change. Besides, Emily’s housekeeper/servant was her one and only link with the society. One can see that Emily’s pathetic life and her tragic end are symbolic of the aftereffect of her negative attitude towards change. From a different angle of view, Emily’s father did not allow her to marry and this accelerated her socio-cultural exclusion. On the other side, Emily did not try to be within the mainstream society and was forced to face the consequences. She did not try to develop cordial relationship with her neighbors. Instead, she depended upon her servant and this attitude forced her to shrink herself into her private circle. When she became older, no one other than her servant was there to help her.
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