A Rose for Emily: Attitude About Change

Topics: Reconstruction era of the United States, Southern United States, American Civil War Pages: 6 (1316 words) Published: October 8, 1999
William Faulker's " A Rose for Emily" tells the story of a young

woman who is violated by her father's strict mentality. After being the only

man in her life Emily's father dies and she finds it hard to let go. Emily

was raised in the ante-bellum period before the Civil War. This story takes

place in the Reconstruction Era after the war when the North takes control of

the South. Like her father, Miss Emily possesses a stubborn outlook towards

life and refuses to change. This short story explains Emily, her mystified

ways and the townsfolk's sympathetic curiosity.

The plot of the story is mainly about Miss Emily's attitude about

change. "On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. February came

and there was no reply. They wrote her a formal letter asking her to call the

sheriff's office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her

herself, offering to call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a

note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded

ink, to the effect that's he no longer went out at all. The tax notice was

enclosed, without comment." (189). Miss Emily was convinced that she had no

taxes in Jefferson because before the Civil War the South didn't have to pay

taxes and since her father had made a contribution to the town of a generous

amount, Colonel Sartoris, mayor at that time had remitted her taxes, she felt

that that promise or rather gift still stood good. "After her father's death

she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw

her at all."(190). Miss Emily might have stayed out the public eye after

those two deaths because she was finally alone, something she in her life was

not used to. Emily's father never let her alone and when he died Homer Baron

was a treat she was never allowed to have. Miss Emily's stubborn attitude

definitely came from her father's strict teachings.

The characters of this story are very briefly mentioned, Miss Emily

and Mr. Homer Barron are the two main characters described. Miss Emily was

described as a short, fat, aged and mysterious women during her later years.

Miss Emily had been through much and had seen many generations grow before

and around her. This brings to reason her strong Confederate beliefs. Homer

Barron; on the other hand was quite the opposite, "A Yankee-a big, dark,

ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face,"(191). Homer

described himself as man who couldn't be tied down. This had to be a terrible

opposition for Miss Emily. Towards the end of the story Emily seems to prove

him wrong.

The setting of this passage is highly essential because it defines

Miss Emily's grasp of ante-bellum ways. This story take place throughout the

Reconstruction Era from the late 1800's to the early 1900's in Jefferson,

Mississippi. Jefferson was just one of the many Southern towns which was

reformed by Northern reconstruction. The confederate quickly deteriorated

without free labor to aid their farms and plantations. Miss Emily refused to

allow modern change into her desolate life. For example she refused to let

the newer generation fasten metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox

when Jefferson got free mail service. This reflects Miss Emily's unyielding

persona caused by her father's treatment when she was young. When Miss

Emily's death occurred the newer Jefferson generations were left without an

ante-bellum perspective.

"A Rose for Emily" is told through the eyes of the townspeople which

is an example of limited omniscient; a narrator inside the work telling the

story. Faulkner expressed a lot of the resident's opinions towards Emily and

her family's history. They mention old lady Wyatt, her great aunt who had

gone completely mad. These...
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