How does Emily illustrate the decay of the Old South in Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"?

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Miss Emily hails from a once prestigious plantation-owning family, who lost their wealth after the Civil War. Following the death of Emily's father, she becomes reclusive and only begins to date men later in life. During her brief relationship with Homer Barron , Miss Emily poisons him and refuses to...

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Miss Emily hails from a once prestigious plantation-owning family, who lost their wealth after the Civil War. Following the death of Emily's father, she becomes reclusive and only begins to date men later in life. During her brief relationship with Homer Barron, Miss Emily poisons him and refuses to leave her home as an older woman. Emily Grierson symbolically represents the Old South and her struggles to interact with the newer generation of Jeffersonians corresponds to the difficult change in southern culture following the Civil War.

Faulkner initially describes Miss Emily as a "fallen monument" during her funeral and mentions that her once magnificent estate has decayed over the years into an "eyesore among eyesores." Towards the end of Miss Emily's life, she is described as being a small, fat woman, who looks bloated and has a "pallid hue" to her skin. Her physical description indicates that she resembles a bloated corpse and her dilapidated residence corresponds to her outdated way of life. Miss Emily's horrific crime and necrophilia also emphasize the decay of the Old South and her inability to assimilate into the New South reveals the struggles that many southern traditionalists experienced following the Civil War.

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Emily's reputation around town is based on her refusal to change with the times. She refuses to pay her taxes because of an old agreement with her father and the town, an agreement that has long since passed. She regards the town in the same manner that she always has, but the town has moved on. The actual rotting of Emily's house also reinforces this idea. The once grand, plantation style house has become an eye-sore to the rest of the town, reminding them of what they were. While they pity Emily, they are not sorry to be rid of her because after her death they can finally finish moving on from the past.

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