In "A Rose for Emily," by William Faulkner, the use of thoroughly distributed symbolism reveals the plot of the whole action. The story speaks of the state of sociological transformation in the South. Faulkner reveals the inharmony between the former and contemporary south, and depicts the inherited reluctance to change through his main character, Emily and her physical appearance, as a representative of the obsolete older society; on the contrary, the changing order has been being depicted by her death.
Miss Emily is a "fallen monument" (245) of southern values and aristocracy; this southern legacy is expressed by her behavior. She is a monument because of her association to an elite southern family, which is a representative of southern customs and heritage. Her implacability and die-hard demeanor are very strong characteristics of the traditional South as she belongs to the gentry, and was brought up in a totalitarian environment. She rarely mixes with the people of the town, and never accepts the concept of transformation of the society; as a result, she prefers to live in the glorified past rather than adjusting into the present. This stubbornness becomes clear after the death of her father. She denies him a burial, and keeps him in the home for three days. However, the townspeople force into her house and take him away, but her denial verifies her indisposition to change.
Moreover, this reluctance to mutation comes to the fore during the conversation between Miss Emily and the town authorities. At that time Emily is described like a dead body as "she looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water" (246). This description of hers portraits the decaying tradition, but her "invisible watch" suggests that she is unaware of the time, or the change, and still prefers to live in the past. When the town authorities visit her regarding the payment of her taxes, she tells them to see Colonel Sartoris who is already dead. As she...
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