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Conflict Of The Past And The Present In "A Rose For Emily" By William Faulkner. A Short Story Analysis

756 words - 3 pages

The Past and the Present Conflict In: "A Rose for Emily"The story "A Rose for Emily" " by William Faulkner takes place in a small town in the south of the United States after the civil war. One of the aspects we could look at the story is through the conflict of the past and the present. Emily Grierson, Colonel Sartoris, the Board of Alderman, and the Negro servant represent the past ant the traditions of the old South. Homer Barron, the new Board of Alderman, the new sheriff, and the town symbolize the present and the modern world.The conflict between the past and the present is shown in the beginning of the story by the description of the house, "only now Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores." The same words, "stubborn and coquettish decay," can be used to describe Miss Emily as well. In addition, just like her house which had once been white and on a "select street," Miss Emily had been a slim young girl dressed in white. However, as the house fell into decay so had Miss Emily, "she looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue"The town almost refers to her as a thing instead of a live person, "Her eyes [...] looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough." The example that also shows Miss Emily as something other than an individual comes in the third paragraph as she is described as "a tradition, a duty, and a care." Nevertheless, when there were complaints of an unpleasant smell coming from her house, a younger member of the Board of Aldermen suggested that Miss Emily should be told to clean up her property. However, because of respect to the older, the more traditional members could not confront her about this matter. "Dammit, sir", Judge Stevens said, "will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?" Thirty years later, the Board of Aldermen still show respect for her, "They rose when she entered", and allow themselves to be "vanquished" by Miss Emily as they tried...

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