A Rose for Emily: Antebellum South vs. Modern South

1106 words 5 pages
A Rose for Emily: Antebellum South vs. Modern South

William Faulkner wrote, "A Rose for Emily." In the gothic, short story he contrasted the lives of the people of a small Southern town during the late 1800's, and he compared their ability and inability to change with the time. The old or "Antebellum South" was represented by the characters Miss Emily, Colonel Sartoris, the Board of Aldermen, and the Negro servant. The new or "Modern South" was expressed through the words of the unnamed narrator, the new Board of Aldermen, Homer Barron, and the townspeople. In the shocking story, "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner used symbolism and a unique narrative perspective to describe Miss Emily's inner struggles to accept time and change
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This invisible ticking symbolized Emily's unwillingness to recognize the passing of time. The house was set on "what had once been the most select street" (71). The fact that Emily never maintained her house showed her struggle with modernization. She also refused to allow the newer generation to fasten numbers above her door or attach a mailbox when Jefferson got free mail service. Miss Emily and her house represented the Old South.
Like her, the house stood alone to battle the changes. And soon a strange smell developed around Miss Emily's house, which was another sign of decay and death. There were numerous complaints, but due to the old Southern ideals of honor, duty, and loyalty to the elders, the more traditional members could not possibly confront her about this odor. "Dammit sir," Judge Stevens said, "Will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?" (73) So instead they chose to creep around her house during the night and to sprinkle lime on the foul areas. They were afraid to confront her, just as the next generation was afraid to confront her about the taxes. Miss Emily believed that just because Colonel Sartoris remitted her taxes in 1894, that she was exempt from paying them years later. "On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. February came and no reply. They wrote her a formal letter asking her to call at the sheriff's office at her