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interpreting A Rose For Emily

Interpreting “A Rose for Emily” William Faulkner (1897-1962) is known for his portrayals of the tragic conflict between the old and the new South. The majority of Faulkner's works are centered on his hometown of Oxford, in Lafayette County, Mississippi. In his works of fiction, his hometown is used, but is renamed to Jefferson, in Yoknapatawpha County. This author's fiction recreates more than a century of life in the town of Jefferson a few years before, during and after the Civil War. Many different types of people come into focus in his literature. A Rose for Emily easily fits into Faulkner’s pattern of fiction writing. The present, or “new south” agenda was expressed several ways in A Rose for Emily; through the words of the narrator, the new Board of Aldermen, Homer Barron (the Yankee), and in what was called “the next generation with its more modern ideas” (354). This technique is not unusual for Faulkner. It is present in many of his works and that is why A Rose for Emily is easily interpreted. In A Rose for Emily, Faulkner discussed those conflicting values of the past and present and point out those values that are misrepresented and those that continue to have meaning for today by contrasting the past with the present era as he descriptively portrayed unusual characters.In A Rose for Emily, the past was represented in Emily. Miss Emily was referred to as a "fallen monument" in the story (353). She and her antiquated home were almost a shrine to Southern gentility and an ideal of past values. She and her home were depicted as susceptible to death and decay. Through this imagery Faulkner was symbolizing the demise of the way of life of the old, pre-industrial, pre-civil war south. The description of her house “lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps--an eyesore among eyesores” shows a combined image of t...

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