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Rose For Emily Essay Research Paper rose

Rose For Emily Essay, Research Paper

rose for emily

Emily in Past and Present

In the story A Rose for Emily , William Faulkner contrast the past with the present times. The past is easily represented in Emily herself, in Colonel Sartoris, in the old Negro servant, and in the Board of Alderman who accepted the Colonel s point of view that Emily be remitted of her taxes. The present is expressed mainly through the words of the unnamed narrator, the new Board of Alderman, and Homer Barron a representative of the Yankee attitudes toward the Griersons and also toward the south and in what is called “the next generation with its more modern ideas” are represented the present time period.(1)

A description of Emily in another paragraph compares her to the house. She looked bloated like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that palled hue Emily had not always had that appearance.(1) She was a “monument of Southern gentility, an idea of past values, but fallen because she has aged and shown herself to be subject to decay and death. Such as the description of her house Lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and gasoline pump-an eyesore among eyesores represented a clear view of the past and present and

was an idealistic representation of Emily herself.(1)

One can further see the past and present attitude in Judge Stevens, who is over eighty years old and the young man (a member of the rising generation) who came to the judge regarding the smell at Emily s house. It is the past pitted against the present, the past with its social ideals, the present with everything set down in the books. For the young man it was easy to point out health regulations that were on the books, but for the judge, “Dammit, sir…will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad.”(3) If Homer had triumphed in seducing Emily and deserting her, Emily would have become easy for the town to pity, therefore becoming human.

Emily s room above the stairs was that timeless meadow. Inside it, the living Emily and the dead Homer remained together as though not even death could separate them. In simplicity, the story says that death conquers all. What is death? On one level, death is the past, tradition, whatever is opposite of the present. In this story, it is the past of the South in which the survivors of the Civil War deny the changing of customs and the passage of time.

Homer Barron, the Yankee, living in the present who was ready to take his pleasure and depart, apparently unwilling to consider the possibility of defeat neither by tradition and the Grierson, nor by time itself and death. In a since, Emily

conquered time, but only briefly and by retreating into her rose-tinted world of the past. That retreat, the story implies is hopeless since everyone, even Emily is subject to death.