The Past Is The Present Essay Research

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The Past Is The Present Essay, Research Paper The Past Is the Present After World War One, there were many changes occurring in the world. Man?s inherent need to follow tradition was now being challenged by a continually changing, modern world. The past and the present often conflicted. William Faulkner, a southern born writer, based much of his novels and short stories on this conflict. He aptly reflects the turmoil of the past and the present in, ? A Rose for Emily?. The conflict between the past and the present is symbolized in the beginning of the story by this description, ? only now Miss Emily?s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores? (331). It is ironic that the same description ?

stubborn and coquettish decay? can be a description for Miss Emily as well. And just like her house, which had once been white and on a ? select street?, Miss Emily had been a slim young girl dressed in white. But as the house fell into decay so had Miss Emily,? she looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue?(332). The town played a part in Miss Emily?s delusion. There were numerous complaints of a foul stench permeating from her property. A younger member of the Board of Aldermen suggested that Miss Emily be told to clean up her property. But due to the old southern ideals of honor, duty and loyalty the older, the more traditional members could not possibly confront her about this matter. ?Dammit sir?, Judge Stevens said,? will you

accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?(333)? So in the midnight hour they chose to ? slunk about the house? and apply lime to the infected areas. Then thirty years later the Board of Aldermen allow themselves to be ?vanquished? by Miss Emily as they attempted to collect the delinquent taxes owed the town. The druggist also permits her to purchase arsenic without following protocol. By law Miss Emily was required to tell the druggist what she plan to do with the arsenic. She did not. Ray B.West Jr., taught at the University of Montana and the University of Kansas. He was also the editor of,? Rocky Mountain Stories and ? The Art of Modern Fiction?. He wrote an analysis on, ? A Rose for Emily?, titled ? Atmosphere and Theme in ? A Rose for Emily? in 1949. He states, ? It is the

Past pitted against the Present-the Past with its social decorum, the Present with everything set down in ?the books?. Emily dwells in the Past, always a world of unreality to us of the Present.?(68). In his analysis, Mr. West sees an atmosphere (time, place, and conditions) of unreality created by the female character, Emily. And once this atmosphere of unreality is established, the reader is being prepared for ? Emily?s unnatural act at the end of the story?. This same atmosphere allows the reader to see Miss Emily as a ? tragic figure? instead of an evil monster. Miss Emily hold on the past had made her a victim of her own values. The relationship with Homer Barron is also a conflict of the past and the present. Miss Emily, a Southern aristocrat, is the ideal of past values

and Homer, a northern laborer, is a part of the ever-changing present. While Miss Emily is ? of moonlight and magnolias, cotton fields, faithful old family servants and Mount Vernon mansions? a quote by Joel Williamson, a historian of the south (Williamson 401). Homer is of machinery, a hearty laugh and a man?s man. Miss Emily symbolizes the slow moving pace of the old south while Homer symbolizes progress of the fast moving pace of the new south. Even during their buggy rides Miss Emily sits with ? her head high?, representing the past and Homer sits with his ?hat cocked?, representing the present. Homer must have planned to leave Miss Emily. When her father had died, she refused to acknowledge his death for three days. Her father, who had been the mainstay of her life, had left