Discuss how Faulkner's treatment of the North and the South contributes to the meaning of the story "A Rose for Emily"?

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In the short story "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner equates the South with tradition. Families with money carry their prestige for generations, despite the changing climate of the times.

Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town.

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In the short story "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner equates the South with tradition. Families with money carry their prestige for generations, despite the changing climate of the times.

Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town.

Due to the reputation of her father, Emily was allowed to make her own rules for her entire lifetime. She rejected paying taxes and taking part in the postal system. The townspeople were almost afraid to confront her about the look, decay, or smell of her house.

The entire story is told from an outside perspective, as Emily allows nobody aside from her servant to have a look at her personal life. Her life has become a source of mere public speculation.

As the times evolve, people allow themselves to modernize and adapt to the changing cultural climate, but Emily does not allow herself to be coerced into playing along: she sends back her tax notices, dismisses the new men in power, and ignores the gossip and social life of the town.

Her only love interest is Homer Barron, and this is only after her father passes away, as he rejected any potential suitor for his daughter. The town pitied Emily for settling for a Northerner, as if that were the true sign that she had lost her marbles. They sent for her cousins in Alabama to knock some sense in her.

Then some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people. The men did not want to interfere, but at last the ladies forced the Baptist minister—Miss Emily's people were Episcopal—to call upon her.

In this way, the division between the North and South is evident in the story. The townsfolk judged and pitied Emily for being alone as she got older and remained stuck in her ways, but they also judged and pitied her about the choices she did make in terms of diverging from her "Southern" culture. It's no wonder that she kept to herself. She must have been aware of the way people talked about her. She ended up trying to preserve her heritage and her meager sense of love and belonging in a very morbid way: through literally preserving the corpse of her deceased lover.

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Faulkner depicts the decline of the Old South by illustrating Miss Emily Grierson's dilapidated home, her refusal to pay her taxes, and her grotesque necrophilia. Miss Emily and her home are the last vestiges of the Old South, and she refuses to accept the changing culture of her southern hometown in the story. While the older generation of Jeffersonians pay homage to Miss Emily and accommodate her out of respect, the newer generation of Jeffersonians views her as an irritant. Faulkner also creates sympathy for her character by describing her oppressive childhood and lonely adolescence.

Homer Barron symbolically represents northern industrial businesses following the Civil War. Similar to Homer Barron, many northern businesses expanded into the South, where they could increase their profits and spread their influence. The citizens' perception of Homer Barron reflects how many southerners viewed northerners following the Civil War. While some citizens appreciated the fact that northern businesses benefited the economy, some southerners resented how their traditional culture began to change. Emily's fear of rejection eventually leads to her decision to murder Homer Barron and the community ends up discovering Homer's skeleton after her funeral. Faulkner's depiction of Emily Grierson's dark secret reflects the uglinesses of the Old South's traditional society, which thrived on institutionalized slavery. Overall, Faulkner portrays the positives and negatives associated with the Old South by depicting the duty, honor, and tradition, while simultaneously exposing the ugliness of the region via Miss Emily Grierson's crime and necrophilia.

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Being a native Mississippian, author William Faulkner is sympathetic to the attitudes and culture of the Deep South. Virtually anyone who is not from Jefferson (or Mississippi) is considered an outsider--from Homer Barron to Miss Emily's relatives, who hail from Alabama. The townspeople of Jefferson seem to have a general mistrust of these characters, though Homer is generally described in a positive light. Homer represents the modern era: He has come to Jefferson to oversee the construction of new sidewalks in town. Miss Emily's relatives represent the common sense side that Emily is not perceived to possess. Homer particularly symbolizes the common people outside the realm of the ante-bellum Southern aristocracy and, despite his winning personality, he represents the encroachment of the modern world. He is a modern day carpetbagger who comes to earn a living in the defeated South not that far removed from the memories of the Civil War. When Emily is rejected by this man--perhaps her last chance at romance and marriage--it is yet another defeat for Emily, who represents the last vestiges of the Old South.

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