A Rose for Emily: the Theme

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A Rose for Emily

In “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, the author conveys the theme as people being afraid of change and how fear can take over one’s life when wanting to protect and preserve their past. He illustrates this through character, setting and symbolism.

In opening characterization, Faulkner represents Ms. Emily Grierson with his descriptive words of choice with foreshadowing his climax of the story. (Knickerbocker). He begins to describe her when two Board of Aldermen employees come to her home to retrieve a response for her reason of not replying back to the recent tax notices left to her. “Her skeleton was small and sparse.” The description used depicts her unwillingness to change with the newer generation of society around her. “She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue.” (Faulkner 30). Almost looking dead and sort of distorted into what is surrounding her, Faulkner also uses the interior of the living room to describe her presence as he says, “It smelled of dust and disuse–a close, dank smell,” and when her guests were seated down “A faint dust rose sluggishly about their thighs, spinning with slow motes in the single sun-ray.” (Faulkner 30). Her personality more importantly shows Emily's attempts to stop time by confusing past and present and refusing to accept change, “For example, the story begins at the end of Miss Emily’s life then goes backward to 1894 and sometime after her father’s death when Colonel Sartoris has her taxes remitted; then forward from there to the next generation that demands those taxes.” (Sullivan 84). Faulkner shows her resistance to evolve when the “Next generation, with its more modern ideas, “ call a meeting to get a response for the tax notice that was left without comment, as previously mentioned. “ See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson,” she said with nearly demanding tone of voice, “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Tobe! Show these...
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