A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner Essay

People often stick to tradition, but does that mean tradition is proper? Throughout time, many things in life change, but sometimes things stay preserved. The past is the past and cannot be altered, but things can become spoiled, whether by nature or by man. Gender representation has come a long way in the past few hundred years. To this day life is still not equal for either group. The genders have portrayed for millenniums certain duties and created imageries people associate with both, and will not go away overnight or in a century, possibly not even in a millennium. These typical obligations have become preserved by literature throughout history. One such narrative is “A Rose for Emily”, written by William Faulkner in 1930. There are remarks that have meanings beyond being merely a word with a definition. These symbols and keywords based on gender roles are throughout the story. Of the many hidden in the story, the most important symbols and keywords are an “apron”, they also mention a “kitchen”, and lastly they use the word “deserted”.

Aprons have many links, but mainly with women. The idea that women are housekeepers is their most associated role. The sign that women’s only job is to take care of the house isn’t new. A few references are located throughout. For example, the narrator discusses the town mayor created a law that states, “No Negro woman should appear on the street without an apron” (Faulkner 3). Although not related, he does bring up racial segregation, but in doing so he also references that people interpret the standard female role is in the kitchen. The author chose to use an apron because during this time period most women did not have any work outside of their household. Women were never allowed to do…

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…to change as well. Therefore if a mother chooses to stay at home or a man feels the need to support his family, or vice versa, there isn’t a single thing someone could tell them otherwise. Society has come a long way, breaking out of the barrier of gender roles enforced upon people from the day they are born. Hopefully one day people will not associate a specific role with either gender and these roles will be known exactly as what they are, roles, not gender roles.

Works Cited

1. “A Rose for Emily”. William Faulkner. 1930.

2. “A Rose for Emily.” New York University. NYU.edu, 2006. Web. 27 February 2014. http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/wAnnotation?action=view&annid=12442

3. “The Beginning of the suffrage movement”


4. http://www2.ivcc.edu/gen2002/women_in_the_nineteenth_century.htm

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