Holding Fast to the Traditions of the Old South The essential essence of the South has been lost throughout time. We are no longer complacent with the slow paced ideals of southern culture. The southern traditions of yesterday have taken a backseat to the fast paced lifestyles that have evolved over centuries. The manner of southern upbringing, the depictions of the southern ideals, and the charm that is indicative of the South are seen today as symbols of the past. In literature, southern characters have been created to convey the representations of the South. In William Faulkner’s timeless short story “A Rose for Emily,” Miss Emily Grierson and her father Mr. Grierson uphold the outdated ideas of chivalry and southern traditions. The Griersons are Faulkner’s commissioners of the old South. One way that Faulkner portrays Emily as a southern traditional character is in her obedience and loyalty to the southern values which are instilled by her father. Emily has the desire to fulfill the traditional southern female role of the loving wife and mother. Faulkner himself sheds interesting light on this matter when he describes Miss Emily as a woman “that just wanted to be loved and to love and to have a husband and a family” (Burduck 1). Once Emily finally attempts to obtain this love with Homer, she is torn by the negative opinions of the townspeople. The narrator says of Emily’s relationship with Homer, “Of course a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer” (Faulkner 241). Miss Emily is forced to decide between upholding her southern traditional values and being alone because Homer does not meet the conventional standards of the time period. Emily chooses to follow the southern values, but does so by killing Homer. As a result of killing him, she insures the ability to maintain her image as an aristocratic lady, while still possessing the companionship she seeks. Furthermore, Emily Grierson’s need for
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