The Rose For Emily by William Faulkner

Topics: Time, American Civil War, Southern United States Pages: 4 (1377 words) Published: November 26, 2013
12. Explore Faulkner's concept of time in “ A Rose for Emily”:

There are two concepts of time in Faulkner's “ A Rose for Emily”: First one is the world of the present, where the past is a “diminishing road”, time is a mechanical progression. This is the view of Homer Barron and the modern generation in Jefferson. They represent the North and its highlighted state, because in the Civil War the North has won, so people started to adapt to the Northerners' lifestyle.

Second one is the world of tradition, where the past is a “huge meadow, which no winter ever touches”, so this is a peaceful state, where there is no death or anything disturbing. There is also a bottleneck dividing us from the past, but not for Emily, she believes she still lives in the past. This is also the view of the Board of Aldermen and of the confederate soldiers, who still believe in the power and shining of the South, which existed before the Civil War. Emily's upstairs room represents that timeless meadow: she and the dead Homer are still together there, and these unchanged objects can explain this concept of time, as well as it suggests an atmosphere of horror.

13. How do Faulkner's concept of time and his understanding of history relate?

Faulkner adapted his concept of time from the philosopher Henry Bergson, who thought that time is a continuous flowing stream, carrying memories from the past, and foreshadows future actions. Therefore time has little to do with time measured by the clock, it can seem unreal, and there is no such thing as “was”, only “is”. Time is a fluid condition which has no existence, except in the momentary avatars of individual people. He also emphasize the importance of change, to adapt new conditions. That is where Faulkner's understanding of history comes into view: according to Faulkner, the identity of a Southerner is that he fights with clock time, and because they lost the war, such a defeat makes a difference in one's present life: there were...
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