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Setting In A Rose For Emily, The Yellow Wallpaper And Araby

1359 words - 5 pages

Whether it is a novel, short story or a story told out loud, they all contain a setting. In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily", Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and James Joyce's "Araby", setting is an important factor and it helps tie in the characters and the plot of the story. In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner's details about setting and atmosphere give the reader background as to the values and beliefs of the characters, helping the reader to understand the motivations, actions and reactions of Miss Emily and the rest of the town, and changing the mood or tone in the story.The setting in "A Rose for Emily" is a small town in the deep south. Faulkner's use of this particular time period or genre is successful in giving the reader an understanding or background to the values and beliefs of the characters in the story. The town of Jefferson is a fallen legacy. The town looked upon Miss Emily as the only trace of that greater time. This fact gives the reader an understanding of the mindset of the "town", who is narrating Miss Emily's story to us in a form resembling a gossip circle, where stories of various townspeople are pieced together and of Miss Emily, the protagonist who lived alone except for her lone servant.Faulkner's setting helps the reader understand the mentality and actions of the town. The townspeople seem oddly fascinated with Miss Emily as a relic of an older time. They have put her in a special position among the others and while they have not maintained any direct contact with her, they are still curious even after her death about her mystery. This could be attributed to the fact that as the times are changing, they need someone to restore or uphold their southern pride or dignity and as she is a Grierson, she is their only link to that past. They even take it upon themselves to try to correct her mistakes by calling on her cousins while she was involved with Homer. They felt that she was setting a bad example and because she was supposed to be of a higher class and symbolize morals and decency in the changing south they felt that they had to do something to restore her moral standing for her.Besides helping the reader understand the motivations and events in the story, the setting also changed the tone of the story. The descriptions that Faulkner gave and the images he fabricated gave the story a very gothic feel to it. The image of the Grierson place with its out of date structure and furnishings, and of Miss Emily herself as a fat old woman resembling death itself also helped to create a clear picture of an old run down town. The physical setting was parallel to the social change that was taking place at the time and could be used to symbolize the breakdown of the old structures that had once held their society up.In all the cases, the essential element in Faulkner's story that gave the reader both background and insight into the story, was the setting. The use of a familiar genre...

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