Resistance To Change In William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily

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Every culture and society experiences change over time: it 's inevitable. The period shortly after the Civil War is no exception. William Faulkner wrote "A Rose for Emily" 66 years after the end of the Civil War, and he wrote it as a parallel to the social commentary during the period after the war. His short story encompasses a complex array of literary devices that we can use to analyze his attitude towards this period of change, and ultimately glean insight to a time forgotten, and we can explore the difficulty of maintaining traditional values in such a time of change. In "A Rose for Emily", Faulkner uses symbolism and subtle literary hints to create a puzzle that represents societies ' resistance to change and a desire to uphold a positive …show more content…
She is depicted as a stubborn woman, plump yet somehow frail, and a woman from the old generation, a "fallen monument" (803) representing the glory of more traditional ways. She steadfastly holds to her traditional values in spite of the rapid changing of times. Even though she represents former glory, the townspeople desire to pity her, and through extension, pity the old Southern values. When she dies, the narrator says "at last they could pity Miss Emily" (807), showing that the townspeople didn 't feeling right pitying her when she was alive, as if showing pity would outwardly display their dissatisfaction to the town 's history or they were concerned about her reaction due to her stubbornness. Miss Emily 's stubbornness is shown in her interaction with the tax collectors. As the next generation grew older and took political roles, they discover her arrangement with Colonel Sartoris is a sham. When talking about this arrangement, the narrator says "Only a man of Colonel Sartoris ' generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it" (804). After confronting her about this false arrangement, they recognize her resistance and let it go, deeming it not worth their time and effort. This attitude towards Miss Emily spreads around, and it shows when townspeople complained to the judge about the smell from Emily 's house. Judge Stevens responds with, "dammit, sir, ... will you accuse a …show more content…
The story undertakes a peculiar tone: although the story is told in first person, the narrator frequently uses pronouns such as "we" and "our". The narrator speaks like they have the authority to speak for the townspeople as a collective, casually interjecting an opinion as if the whole town shares this opinion. This approach casts doubt on the credibility of the narrator. The narrator speaks with a certain reverence towards Miss Emily, but also with an undertone of disdain. This disdain shows when the narrator says, "[some of the townspeople] believed that the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were" (806). The narrator presents only a portion of the townspeople 's opinion, leaving doubt that some people thought the Griersons held themselves high enough, or not high enough. The narrator only addresses certain opinions, or speaks cumulatively, creating an appearance of only half the story. Because the reader only gets half the story, we can determine the narrator clearly has a vested interest in protecting the towns image. The narrator attempts to portray the town as an upstanding community, despite a few blemishes. "A Rose for Emily" was written in a time where news travelled slow, and image really mattered. From Miss Emily 's actions and attitude, to how the townspeople respond and view her, we can examine how Faulkner portrays this specific point in time. Ultimately, the community

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