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"The Search For Time In Yoknapatawpha County"

2289 words - 10 pages

Setting is an important aspect of any story, movie, poem and novel. Setting enhances many aspects of a story by adding time, location and mood into the works. Imagine how different Harry Potter would be if it took place in South Africa, instead of the magical kingdom of Hogwarts? Setting also enhances the tone of the narrator by adding effects, such as, weather changes, time of day, time of the year and the time period of the story. Furthermore, in the short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, the setting is a source of conflict. The narrator’s of the story, the town’s people, have an unknown entity, but because the story shifts between time periods and settings, the reader acquires different points of view from the same conflict. The theme of tradition and change in the short story “A Rose for Emily”, is enhanced by time, the southern gothic literature, and the post Civil War setting of the Yoknapatawpha County.
Yoknapatawpha County is an imaginary place, that is the seat of almost all William Faulkner’s novels, but more specifically, the setting of “A Rose for Emily”. Yoknapatawpha County is based on Mississippi, the state in which Faulkner originated from. The imaginary County only exists inside of Faulkner’s head and it is portrayed in his major works. The county is a parallel universe that Faulkner used, to escape into his own reality. A fictional reality with real world issues that closely mirror the American South before, during and after the Civil War.
…After the Civil War the South, having tasted military defeat and having seen its social and economic collapse, did not share in the optimism, industrialism, and commercialism that characterized the rest of the nation, In the history of the South and Faulkner’s fictional presentation of it, the Civil War stands as a watershed (Aiken 348).
“A Rose for Emily”, takes place in Faulkner’s version of Oxford, which is Jefferson, after the Civil War. Jefferson is the main town of Yoknapatawpha County, it is the town that best resembles the influence the North had on the South, after the South’s defeat during the Civil War. Jefferson had many modern convenience stores, that was not a luxury in many of the other towns in Yoknapatawpha, a new mail system adopted by the mail system of the North, and new roads. However, in “A Rose for Emily”, Miss Grierson represents the stagnation and resistance towards the change, after the Civil War. Not every person in the South welcomed the changes after the Civil war, and not were certainly not prepared to move forward. For example, many Southerners who were accustomed to slavery, now had to break the chains on their property, due to the outcome of the War. Furthermore, Faulkner uses time for many of his novels that set in Yoknapatawpha County. For instance, in “A Rose for Emily”, the chronological order of events contributes to the theme of tradition and change. The protagonist, Emily Grierson, represents a person who is a victim of...

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