In "A Rose for Emily" what does the author mean when he says "a huge meadow which no winter ever touches"?

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pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This phrase is written with regard to the reminiscences of the two old soldiers who attend Miss Emily's funeral dressed in their Confederate uniforms.  Miss Emily was always a symbol for the Old South, so it is easy for the two old soldiers to remember her and the heyday of the south before they lost the war.

Their memories are sanitized to reflect only what was good about the "good old days." So the meadow is the memory, in this wonderful memory, the sun always shines, darkness never comes.  Every time these two men remember their past, it is glorified, and probably exaggerated.  So for all those who look to the past for memories of the South in this story, especially the older generation, the memory of those days is like a beautiful garden always in season.    

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Section V of "A Rose for Emily," the funeral for Emily Grierson is held.  The old servant lets the "sibilant" women in and "walked right through the house and out the back was not seen again."  This action of the "Negro" signifies the further end of the Old South with Emily's death.  Likewise, as the last vestiges of the Old South, the "very old men" in their Confederate uniforms attend the funeral. Sitting on the lawn they speak of Miss Emily as though she has been a contemporary of theirs, but they have lost their sense of time

confusing time with its mathematical progression, as the old do, to whom all the past is not a diminishing road but, instead, a huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches, divided from them now by the narrow bottle-neck of the most recent decade of years.

The memories of the aged are selective and subjective.  Like a green meadow, they are romantic, fresh, lively, and pleasant.  These memories are of their glorious and happy youth, separated from the reality of old age, the "narrow bottle-neck" of the present that, for them, is winter as it represents the end of their era, with their eventual death ahead.

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