Faulkner’s Rose For Emily is a Portrait Of The Post War South

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is perhaps his most famous and most anthologized short story. From the moment it was first published in 1930, this story has been analyzed and criticized by both published critics and the causal reader. The well known Literary critic and author Harold Bloom suggest that the story is so captivating because of Faulkner’s use of literary techniques such as “sophisticated structure, with compelling characterization, and plot” (14). Through his creative ability to use such techniques he is able to weave an intriguing story full of symbolism, contrasts, and moral worth. The story is brief, yet it covers almost seventy five years in the life of a spinster named Emily Grierson. Faulkner develops the character Miss Emily and the events in her life to not only tell a rich and shocking story, but to also portray his view on the South’s plight after the Civil War. Miss Emily becomes the canvas in which he paints the customs and traditions of the Old South or antebellum era. The story “A Rose For Emily” becomes symbolic of the plight of the South as it struggles to face change with Miss Emily becoming the tragic heroin of the Old South.

Growing up in Mississippi in the late Nineteenth Century and the early part of the Twentieth Century, young William Faulkner witnessed first hand the struggles his beloved South endured through their slow progression of rebuilding. These experiences helped to develop Faulkner’s writing style. “Faulkner deals almost exclusively with the Southern scene (with) the Civil War … always behind his work” (Warren 1310. His works however are not so much historical in nature but more like folk lore. This way Faulkner is not constrained to keep details accurate, instead he manipulate the story to share his on views leading the reader to conclude morals or lessons from his experience. Faulkner writes often and “sympathetically of the older order of the antebellum society. It was a society that valued honor, (and) was capable of heroic action” (Brooks 145) both traits Faulkner admired. These sympathetic views are revealed in the story “A Rose for Emily” with Miss Emily becoming a monument for the Antebellum South.

“A Rose for Emily” is a story about Emily Grierson who kills her Yankee boyfriend Homer Barron and lives with his body in her bedroom for over forty years.

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