William Faulkner's story A Rose for Emily is published in 1931. The setting of this short story is of a funeral for Miss Emily, a well respected member of the high society in Jefferson, Mississippi in the late 1800's. This story depicts the lifestyle of the members of the noble patriarchal society, what is expected of them in public, contrasted with what actually goes on in their lives in private.
In "A Rose for Emily" the past is contrasted with the present era. The past is seen in Miss Emily, Colonel Sartoris, the old Negro servant Tobe, and the Board of Alderman. Emily's suitor, the Yankee Homer Barron, the new Board of Alderman, and "the next generation with its more modern ideas" represent the present.
Emily is born in the family of "the high and mighty Griersons." Members of the high society are expected to behave at higher standards compared to the common people around them. Miss Emily was a victim to these beliefs and to her father's expectations. Her father impressed upon her that every man she met was no good for her. Even the townspeople stated "when her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her; and in a way, people were glad...being left alone...She had become humanized". This sounds as if her fathers death was some sort of freedom for her. She could start dating and her father could not chase them away anymore.
The common townspeople also thought that Miss Emily was above the law because of her high class stature. Emily's power over the town is proven by the fact that Emily is not only exempt from paying taxes in Jefferson, but she gets away with murder. Emily buys arsenic without anyone ever thinking that her intentions might possibly be homicidal. The women instantly assume that Emily will use it to commit suicide because her suitor, Homer Barron, has abandoned her. When she continues to live, no one gives a second thought as to what the poison was really for. Even when a terrible stench...