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What is the historical context of "A Rose for Emily," and how does Faulkner use the...

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debbie121 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:10 AM via web

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What is the historical context of "A Rose for Emily," and how does Faulkner use the South after the Civil War in this story?

Writing a research paper on this and need to know the significance of the South during Reconstruction.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:04 AM (Answer #1)

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Miss Emily is a living testament to the Civil War, having been born shortly before or during the War Between the States. She bridges the years before the war and the turn of the century, symbolizing the values of the Old South and its resistance to change during the decades following the war. The Griersons had been an important and wealthy family during the ante-bellum years but, like many rich Southerners, their fortunes were lost following the surrender. Emily, like others who had been a part of the pre-war Southern aristocracy, was unwilling to accept her new and reduced social status. "When the next generation, with its more modern ideas" became the driving force in Jefferson, Emily became a living relic of the past. She was a product of a different time, and she lived her life as she had been brought up--as a person of privilege. She romanced a Yankee, not because she knew better than to dally with Mississippi's old enemy, but because she had no other marital opportunities. She courted him unescorted on Sundays--still a social faux pas--because she considered herself

... higher than what (she) really was.

Her disregard for murder was not unlike her decision to disregard the tax notices. She felt that, as a Grierson, she was above the law and any social mores that others may observe. Like the old Southern aristocrats, she

... passed from generation to generation--dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil and perverse.

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