A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner: Setting

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Tina Hill
Dr. Worthington
ENGL 1102 Essay #1
11 June 2011
“A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner”: Setting

In “A Rose for Emily”, by William Faulkner the house is very important in the characterization of Emily Grierson. The environment in which Emily lived in symbolizes her mental and physical conditioning throughout each generation. The narrator starts the story with the funeral of Emily which gives an immediate view of Emily’s home and how she was viewed by the town’s people. In the story the narrator comments “no one save an old man-servant–a combined gardener and cook–had seen in at least ten years” (Faulkner 9).Emily Ryerson’s home was built during the early 1800’s in Jefferson, Mississippi. During this time the home was considered upscale, built on what was then considered the “select street” (9). Emily’s family may have been considered of a wealthy background and favored by officials like the mayor Colonel Sartoris of the town who decided Emily did not have to pay taxes. The narrator describes the house as once been “big, squares frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies. The present condition of the house was now considered an eyesore” (9) unkept and decayed much like Emily Grierson’s life. The narrator provides further evidence of Emily’s mental instability. Emily secluded herself within her home. Because of her declining mental instability she lost track of time and the progression of the world outside the home. This is most evident when Emily refuses to pay her taxes when sent a tax notice years later after the death of Colonel Sartoris saying “See Colonel Sartoris,I have no taxes in Jefferson (9).” Emily’s home during this time baffles the deputation sent by the Alderman. The home is described as smelling of dust and disuse, leather covered furniture with cracks adorned with dust (10). This symbolized abandonment and neglect within home as if...
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