The South

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While the South was busy with its problems, authors of that era were emerging writing about the troubles of the South and its unwillingness to move forward. Born and raised in New Albany, Mississippi, William Faulkner is in the preeminent position of southern gothic writing. This genre depicts the south as a place permeated with lack of progression. It exposes the American South's inability to move forward along with the industrialized North after the Civil War. Similar to Gothic, Southern Gothic contains death, gloom, and ingenious allegories and metaphors to portray the themes, but Southern Gothic emphasizes the maintenance of racism in the South, showing its lack of progress. The south refuses to change it is its own kryptonite. William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily, written in typical Southern Gothic fashion is set in Jefferson, Alabama, more than thirty years after the end of the Civil War. A Rose for Emily contains various aspects that allude to the Old South’s self-imposed destruction. For example, Faulkner describes Miss Emily a “fat woman in black . . . leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head” (Faulkner, 1930). All aspects of her seem old and decaying: the cane is rusted, and heftiness usually comes about due to lack of exercise with increasing age. He also says “she looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue” (Faulkner, 1930). She is portrayed as the walking dead. Further proving this is his description of her eyes, “. . . lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough” (Faulkner, 1930). Indicated here is that Emily lacks a soul, since she is already metaphorically dead. She is representative of the old aspects of the South that are gone and interred, but which some people cannot let go of; she is also the territory of the South itself. Ultimately, Faulkner’s description of Emily is an allusion to the death of the South. In any type of...
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