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A Rose for Emily

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Throughout William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily, many themes and shifts in tradition are apparent, such as the obvious racism and change in customs from the old South to the new South following the Civil War. Faulkner explores the transformation of the South when slavery dies, and highlights how the lifestyles of slave-owners and the upper class pre-Civil War became less popular when the war ended. The end of the war brought many changes that impacted the lives of the whole country, and more specifically, families like the Griersons. In A Rose for Emily there is an obvious class struggle between Emily Grierson, who is stuck in the ways of the old South, and the rest of the town, who strive to move forward and introduce more innovative processes in a society.

The most prominent theme in this story is the shift from old South to the new South. After Emily's father dies, she continues to act haughty and above the other people in her town, indicating that she believes the status of her father continues to set her above the rest of the southerners. Faulkner demonstrates this behavior when Emily "carried her head high enough--even when we thought she was fallen" (Faulkner 215). This passage also touches on the way the others in Jefferson view Emily. Throughout the story they seem to see her not as a real person, but as a sort of celebrity, in that they seem genuinely interested in, and mildly amused at, her personal life, though they never become involved with her or speak with her when they can help it. They are inwardly satisfied when her father dies, because "being left alone, and a pauper, she had become humanized" (214). When Homer Barron begins to court Emily, the people of the town gossip about her and follow her actions closely, but they do not seem to fully understand her behavior because her attitude is that of an old southerner, while they are progressing into a different lifestyle.

The town's progression throughout the story in apparent, as is Emily's unwillingness to submit to their ways, which is demonstrated by the town introducing a postal service, and "Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them" (216). Another example of the development of Jefferson is shown when Homer is introduced to the story, bringing sever contrast to Emily. When "the town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks" (214), displaying yet another change in the South, Faulkner introduces Homer--a big, Northern, working man who would never have been fit for Emily by her father's standards.

Homer brings a culture shift, not only because he is Northern, but also because Faulkner hints that he may be homosexual--a lifestyle which was unacceptable in this time. After her father's death, Emily allows Homer to court her, which shocks the townspeople who believed "a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer" (215). However, despite their confusion, Emily continues to see Homer, yet her haughtiness still does not change, highlighting how deeply her old Southern mindset has been instilled in her.

While the particular reason that Emily goes on to kill Homer, the man she supposedly adores, is unknown, there are a few possibilities. Faulkner shows the reader in many instances that Emily becomes crazy in her old age. When her father dies and Emily refuses

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