How does Emily symbolize the corruption of southern pre-Civil War society in "A Rose for Emily"?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How does Emily represent the Old South? For one thing, she keeps her "manservant," who keeps house, does the marketing, and acts as butler for her. Another example is that just as the old ways of slavery are dying away, so also the old ways Emily is used to doing things are dying away. No longer can she rely on someone to make excuses for her, as when her taxes were remitted. As Emily grows older and the house around her begins to decay, her neighborhood begins to grow:

At one time, the Grierson home was in one of the finest neighborhoods in Jefferson; by the time of Emily’s death, ‘‘garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood.’’

Plantation houses are big, stately, aristocratic homes. Emily used to be a part of that aristocracy. Both she and it are fading away.

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A Rose for Emily

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