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Rose for Emily - Essay Example

There are several themes that weave their way through William Faulkner’s Rose for Emily, and one of the central ones is the fact that Emily is set in her ways, nostalgic for the past and will do anything to keep her life the way she has always known it. Miss Emily, as she was called, was a stubborn woman. When “garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names” (Part I) in the neighborhood, there was Emily’s house, standing stoic in the midst of change. So much did Emily relish the past, she didn’t repair her house, or add anything to it so as to make it an example for the town, instead it fell to ruin along with the buildings around it. Nothing was allowed to change, and that is how Emily liked it, the dust was allowed to keep accumulating, the old servant coming and going until at long last he was needed no more, the father, long since dead still ruled the house and it’s occupants, and no way was made for progress, not even for the mail to be delivered (Part IV), or taxes to be paid. (Part I). Miss Emily is portrayed as an outsider, someone who the other townsfolk could ridicule, in private, of course, and someone who because of her differences and oddities was much feared in the town. The Colonel was bullied into submission in regards to the unpaid taxes; the druggist into giving her arsenic without the required statements (Part III), the townsmen into getting rid of the smell on their own accord (Part II), and the Baptist minister vowing to never go back into

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the house after being forced by his womenfolk to do so (Part IV). Miss Emily was not going to change a thing, so the people in the town worked around her, partly because of the wrath they thought they would incur if they did not. Another theme flowing through the story is one of profound loss. Miss Emily lost her father, the one who dictated the tenets of her life and hovered over her, perhaps thinking he was protecting her. He was such a forced presence in her life, that she would not realize his death for three days, acting like all was right with the world; her life would go along like it always did. (Part II) Her sweetheart “the one we believed would marry her… had deserted her” (Part II) and after this, she shut herself off from the rest of the world, with only the servant coming and going, because, after all, servants never leave, not in the world Miss Emily was living in. Homer Barron was a Yankee, and to a Confederate supporter like Miss Emily, he’d be the enemy. Couple this with the fact that he was helping the town to change by being the foreman of the sidewalk paving, and it is difficult believe that it is he who Miss Emily chose to be her beau. The busybody townsfolk even wondered, with “do you suppose it’s really so?” (Part III) although they were happy for her in thinking she had found happiness, it is tempered with disbelief. It could be that Miss Emily wanted the aforementioned arsenic to actually kill rats in the house, but the thinking is that she murdered Homer in an attempt to keep him with her always. Or perhaps it was to stop him from changing her world, or some sort of revenge for the loss of the war. It isn’t clear if Emily and Homer ever actually got married, there was never a public wedding or any
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Rose for Emily Tradition in the antebellum South was the thing most admired, most sacred and most impossible to escape. Things were done the same way generation after generation, values were well honed, true and not to be tampered with, everyone knew their place in society and people relished the simple complexities of their lives…
Rose for Emily
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