Analysis For A Rose For Emily Essay

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Analysis For A Rose For Emily Essay, Research Paper An analysis of “A Rose for Emily” by Celia Rodriguez West suggests that modern art grew out of a dissatisfaction with existing belief. He also claims that nineteenth-century romanticism in England and in America, particularly during the latter half of this age, was relatively complacent, but that this complacency became an impossibility following the shock of World War I (West, 92). Artists asked the questions: “Which values of the past are illusory? Which have value for us today? In what terms do they have value? Are there new values more suitable to the present, and are they also illusory or are they vitally related to our needs?” (West, 92). Similar questions seem to lie behind Faulkner’s work. He regarded the

past as a repository of great images of human effort and integrity, but also as the source of a dynamic evil. He was aware of the romantic pull of the past and realized that submission to this romance of the past was a form of death (Warren, 269). In “A Rose for Emily”, Faulkner contrasted the past with the present era. The past was represented in Emily herself, in Colonel Sartoris, in the old Negro servant, and in the Board of Alderman who accepted the Colonel’s attitude toward Emily and rescinded her taxes. The present was expressed chiefly through the words of the unnamed narrator. The new Board of Aldermen, Homer Barron (the representative of Yankee attitudes toward the Griersons and thus toward the entire South), and in what is called “the next generation with its

more modern ideas” all represented the present time period (Norton Anthology, 2044). Miss Emily was referred to as a “fallen monument” in the story (Norton Anthology, 2044). She was a “monument” of Southern gentility, an ideal of past values but fallen because she had shown herself susceptible to death (and decay). The description of her house “lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps–an eyesore among eyesores” represented a juxtaposition of the past and present and was an emblematic presentation of Emily herself (Norton Anthology, 2044). The house smells of dust and disuse and has a closed, dank smell. A description of Emily in the following paragraph discloses her similarity to the house. “She looked bloated like

a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that palled hue” (Norton Anthology, 2045). But she had not always had that appearance. In the picture of a young Emily with her father, she was frail and apparently hungering to participate in the life of the era. After her father’s death, she looked like a girl “with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows–sort of tragic and serene” (Norton Anthology, 2046). This suggests that she had already begun her entrance into the nether-world. By the time the representatives of the new, progressive Board of Aldermen waited on her concerning her delinquent taxes, she had already completely retreated to her world of the past. She declared that she had no taxes in Jefferson, basing her belief on a verbal

agreement made with Colonel Sartoris, who had been dead for ten years. Just as Emily refused to acknowledge the death of her father, she now refused to recognize the death of Colonel Sartoris. He had given his word and according to the traditional view, his word knew no death. It is the past pitted against the present–the past with its social decorum, the present with everything set down in “the books.” We can further see this distinction in the attitude of Judge Stevens, who was 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. For the young man, it was easy to point out the health regulations that were on the books. But for the judge dealing with the situation it was not so simple.