Influence Of Traditional Ways Essay

940 words - 4 pages

The story of "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner, is written with the influence of traditional ways and attitudes of the old South with true insight. Faulkner, a writer brought up in the South, displays the upbringing and lifestyles of people in a town called Jefferson. The story reflects the life of Emily Grierson who too, is a southern woman. Her upbringing by a stern father leads to her slow journey through a secluded life to her death and shows how following the traditions of her father leads her to a life of pain. Faulkner's theme then is how clinging on to the past can harm you when all other surrounding aspects of life are changing. To understand Faulkner's theme, one must understand the characters. As the female protagonist, Emily is an example of a bygone era. She is from an upper class where family name is venerated and is to be maintained at almost any cost. Faulkner emphasizes this many times by saying "She carried her head high enough... as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson."(469) and "...and the high and mighty Griersons."(467) In the end of the story officials do not pursue her lover's disappearance for the exact reason that they do not force her to pay taxes which is also the reason Emily does not rebel against her father and his wishes. This is all due to the fact that she is a Grierson. Faulkner also states that "none of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such." (468) Her father, under the appearance of protection which is actually control, chases away all of her suitors, not because they are not good enough, but so that he may keep her for his own housekeeper. Faulkner gives a description of Emily and then says "...and about the eye sockets as you imagine a light house-keeper's face ought to look."(469) Emily still clings to her father and his customs long after his death. She did not handle his death well as he was the only entity she had. For three days she denied that her father was dead and only after persuasions of doctors and ministers did she let the body be disposed of. "We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her..."(468) Emily had never rebelled against her father's wishes and now was left alone with no suitors and a vague understanding of the society which had changed so much around her. Her father left her with nothing but what used to be a important ornate house on a fashionable...

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