How can  I find the Southern tradition that Faulkner adored in "A Rose for Emily"?

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pmiranda2857's profile pic

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

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William Faulkner adored the Southern tradition and wrote about it so often, because he was born in Mississippi.   In "A Rose for Emily," the author based his characters on real people that he heard stories about from his great-grandfather.  He often used the same characters in his short stories and his novels.

"Colonel Satoris was modeled after Faulkner's great-grandfather, Colonel William C. Falkner, a colorful adventurer of the periods before, during, and after the Civil War."

"Many of Faulkner's novels and short stories are set in Yoknapatawpha County, a fictional area reflecting the geographical and cultural background of his native Mississippi. Faulkner's works frequently reflect the tumultuous history of the South while developing perceptive explorations of the human character."

"Derived from the southern oral tradition and existing somewhere between storyteller and listener, Faulkner's novels together form one larger work, the saga of a single imaginary world in which the characters are both sustained and contained by the region—more philosophical than geographical—that is Faulkner's deep South."

William Faulkner felt a deep responsibility to write about the decadent South that was a part of his own family history.   

I have consulted the sources below for information about the author, for further information click on the links below.   

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kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Actually, the pride and honor you mention are evident in Miss Emily.  Despite the fact that Miss Emily murdered Homer Barron, she represents Southern pride and honor.  Miss Emily was a woman who was proud of her name and upbringing in Jefferson.  Her family was a well-to-do one in Jefferson and a respected one.  After her father's death, however, Miss Emily's behavior became strange and unpredictable; however, Miss Emily continued to maintain her sense of pride and honor, ignoring the gossip and speculation about her.  

The reader definitely does learn something from this story. Miss Emily had several major flaws, including the unwillingness to adapt to change, which can only cause problems, and the inability to cope with loss in her life.  One of Faulkner's themes is that resistance to change and an unwillingness to acknowledge it is destructive and counterproductive.  

The Southern tradition is definitely present in this story.

ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Faulkner adored the Southern tradition of the past, but he also realized that that tradition was dying. That is one of the main lessons the reader can learn in "A Rose for Emily". Faulkner uses Emily to represent the Southern tradition but, to look at her life, she left poor and lonely, without friends to help her deal with the realities of life. Essentially, the modern world forgets people like Emily, as they did the traditional South. By clinging to her traditions, Emily goes mad and becomes delusional. At first, she refuses to admit to her father's death. Then she refuses to admit owing taxes and, probably, her own poverty. Finally, she cannot face losing Homer and then loses touch with reality all together. Faulkner is saying that it is not realistic, no matter how much one loves tradition, to cling to an outdated way of life as a way of not dealing with reality.

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