Themes Tradition versus Change Through the mysterious figure of Emily Grierson, Faulkner conveys the struggle that comes from trying to maintain tradition in the face of widespread, radical change. Jefferson is at a crossroads, embracing a modern, more commercial future while still perched on the edge of the past, from the faded glory of the Grierson home to the town cemetery where anonymous Civil War soldiers have been laid to rest. Emily herself is a tradition, steadfastly staying the same over the years despite many changes in her community.
It was his first short story published in a major magazine. A slightly revised version was published in two collections of his short fiction, These 13 and Collected Stories It has been published in dozens of anthologies as well.
The popularity of the story is due in no small part to its gruesome ending. In fact, he revised some of his short fiction to be used as chapters in those novels.
The character of Colonel Sartoris plays a role in the story; he is also an important character in the history of Yoknapatawpha. His family moved to Oxford, Mississippi, just before he was five.
Faulkner belonged to a once-wealthy family of former plantation owners. He spent his boyhood hunting and fishing in and around Lafayette County. He grew up listening to the stories and myths of the region, and he was especially impressed by the legendary life of the great-grandfather who was his namesake.
He was a high school dropout, but he nevertheless developed a passion for literature, originally planning to be a poet. After working briefly as a clerk for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, he reported to a recruiting station to sign up for World War I.
He hoped to become a pilot and fight the Germans in the skies over France; however, they rejected him for being too small. Although he originally dreamed of being a poet, he ultimately found his voice in fiction. His invention of the mythical Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, gave him an almost endless source of colorful characters and stories.
His greatest novels and short stories are set in Yoknapatawpha. Faulkner used pieces of his own life and family history in his fiction. Faulkner based part of the character of Emily on a cousin, Mary Louise Neilson, who had married a Yankee street paver named Jack Barron.
More importantly, the character of Miss Emily is the town eccentric—Faulkner certainly understood eccentricity, having made it a lifelong practice. Like Emily, Faulkner was often frowned upon in his own home town. He became a pariah in Oxford in the fifties when he spoke out publicly against racism and segregation.
Faulkner published almost twenty novels, several volumes of short fiction, and two volumes of poetry. He wrote many screenplays, essays, and articles for magazines and newspapers.
He traveled widely, giving lectures at American colleges as well as foreign universities. Faulkner died on July 6,the same day his great-grandfather, the Old Colonel, had been born on years earlier. Plot Summary The story, told in five sections, opens in section one with an unnamed narrator describing the funeral of Miss Emily Grierson.
The narrator always refers to himself in collective pronouns; he is perceived as being the voice of the average citizen of the town of Jefferson. The narrator uses this opportunity to segue into the first of several flashbacks in the story.
She ignores their notices and letters. Finally, the Board of Aldermen sends a deputation to discuss the situation with her.
The first physical description of Emily is unflattering: The narrator notes that Colonel Sartoris has been dead at that point for almost ten years. She sends the men away from her house with nothing. Section two begins as the narrator segues into another flashback that takes place thirty years before the unsuccessful tax collection.
The narrator reveals that Emily had a sweetheart who deserted her shortly before people began complaining about the smell. This forces a small contingent of men to take action. The narrator reveals that Emily once had a mad great-aunt, old lady Wyatt.
Emily is at first in such deep denial she refuses to acknowledge that her father is dead. She finally breaks down after three days and allows the townspeople to remove his body.The title of "A Rose for Emily" is also symbolic.
Although roses do not appear in the story, the room in which Homer Barron's body is found is "furnished as for a bridal the valance curtains of faded rose color, rose-shaded lights" (), suggesting Miss Emily's love for Homer. A Rose For Emily and Other Short Stories of William Faulkner study guide contains a biography of William Faulkner, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis of each his short stories, including a Barn Burning summary.
A Rose for Emily. William Faulkner Author Biography. Plot Summary.
Characters. Themes. Style.
Historical Context. Critical Overview. Criticism. Sources. Further Reading. William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” was originally published in the April 30, , issue of Forum.
It was his first short story published in a major magazine. by William Faulkner I WHEN Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant--a combined gardener and cook--had seen in at least ten years.
Grierson - Emily’s father. Mr.
Grierson is a controlling, looming presence even in death, and the community clearly sees his lasting influence over Emily. He deliberately thwarts Emily’s attempts to find a husband in order to keep her under his control. William Faulkner’s, A Rose For Emily, encompasses various themes, but the theme most prevalent in the short story is decay.
Time waits for no one, and for Miss Emily Grierson, time left her behind. A Rose For Emily depicts the motionless decay of a woman stuck in time, as her concept of reality is lost.