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A Rose For Emily Essay

839 words - 4 pages

In the early twentieth century, there was a new literary movement that came to the surface. The new movement was called Southern Gothic. William Faulkner was a Southern Gothic writer who wrote “A Rose for Emily. Southern Gothic writers focused on depicting southern life in the United States after the Civil War by using grotesque themes, imagery, and symbolism.
A major theme in “A Rose for Emily” is traditions versus change. Faulkner uses Emily, the main character in his narrative, to convey the fight that Emily put up for trying to preserve customs in the face of widespread and drastic changes that happens in her hometown of Jefferson. Jefferson is currently experiencing change and accepting more modern ideas or worldly possessions. Emily has a hard time accepting this new generation of people and ideas. An example of a new idea is having to pay taxes. The younger generation accepts this while Emily does not. It is hard for her to see her hometown embrace a more modern and commercial future instead of traditions. “Alive, Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor…remitted her taxes” (Faulkner 794). When Faulkner said that “Emily had been a tradition” he was describing her as set in her ways and unwilling to compromise her beliefs in keeping traditional values even though there was change occurring in her community. One of the changes the community experienced was free postal service. “When the town got free postal delivery Miss. Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it” (Faulkner 799). This is an example of her unwillingness to accept change. With every change that occurs in the community, it makes it harder for her to not face reality and keep the traditions the community once had. A southern tradition she kept was, she had a black servant. These are just a few examples of traditions versus change. Not only does Faulkner use themes to portray Southern Gothic writing, he also uses imagery.
One of the major images Faulkner uses is dust. Either Emily was not a good house keeper or there is meaning behind the dustiness of her house. As Faulkner leads the readers through a journey, they will soon realize that the dust was a blessing and was also oppressive. The house was described as “It smelled of dust and disuse-a close dank smell” (Faulkner 794). After reading this passage the...

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