Faulkner's “A Rose For Emily” Essay

942 words - 4 pages

Historical Element in “A Rose For Emily”
In Faulkner’s tale “A Rose for Emily” there are many historical elements throughout the story; Faulkner uses them to give an authentic feel to the story and to add to the setting. A recurring theme that I found was reference to the reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. The setting of the South after their demise in the Civil War adds character to the story and to the characters. The attitudes people had and the way people treated Emily with respect was a tradition of the “Old South” that is presented throughout this tale.
The story takes place years after the Civil War; the main character is Emily an aristocratic woman who has hardships and trouble all throughout her life. Emily’s family believed that they were better than everyone else and he believed that no man was good enough for his daughter. After her father’s death, Emily began to rebel and do things she knew her father would not have allowed. She dates a Northerner day laborer and kills him, so that he could not leave her. Emily is very stuck up and believed she was better than others. The town people put up with Emily out of respect for her family and she got away with more than she should of.
In the first paragraphs of the book Faulkner uses descriptions to add to the setting of the story and the people in the town. An obvious quote from the story is, “And now Miss Emily had gone to join the representatives of those august names where they lay in the cedar-bemused cemetery among the ranked and anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson.”(Faulkner 91) This statement proclaims that the city Emily lives in was part of the Civil War; the people who live there were all a part of the South and carried on their traditions.
Southerners did not think kindly of Northerners after the war but they allowed some into their towns. People from the town show their Southern roots when they remark on Emily dating the Northerner Homer Barton: “Of course a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner.” (Faulkner 94) The Grierson family was thought of as Southern royalty in a way and people could not believe Emily would belittle herself and date a poor Northerner.
Another example from the story showing the time period of the South after the Civil War is Emily’s manservant Tobe. He was a black man that worked as her servant; if this was pre-Civil War times, he would have been labeled as a slave but the story clearly points out that he was a servant that worked for the Griersons’. He had little to no rights and did everything that Emily asked him to do; he was basically still a slave but he had the title of a free man. This is an example of the South’s rebellion of...

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