In "A Rose for Emily," why is Emily called a "fallen monument" in the first paragraph?

In "A Rose for Emily," Miss Emily is compared to a "fallen monument" because she seems like such a stalwart representative of a bygone era. In dying, however, she "falls," proving that time inevitably marches on and that societies and their values change.

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If Miss Emily is a monument, it's only because the townsfolk have turned her into one. They're the ones who've put her on a pedestal, venerating her as the last living connection with a supposedly more glorious, gracious past. The town doesn't have much going for it, truth be told, and so it's not surprising if its inhabitants should want to dwell in the past so much.

But this “monument” is also fallen in that, like the town in which she lives, she's seen better days. The good folk of Jefferson may prefer to look the other way, but there's no denying that Miss Emily's a decaying relic, her decay aptly symbolized by the crumbling, rundown old house in which she lives.

The monument may have fallen, but it's still subject to veneration and respect by the locals. Among other things, this means that Miss Emily gets a pass on paying local property taxes. It also means that the townsfolk choose not to follow what their noses are telling them and ignore the revolting stench emanating from the Grierson residence. It's only after Miss Emily dies and the source of that disgusting smell is finally discovered that the monument's fall is complete.

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The narrator of the story compares Miss Emily Grierson to a "fallen monument" via an analogy in the first paragraph because she seems to represent an era in historical time rather than seeming like an actual, individual person. Monuments often mark such historical moments. Emily and her family have long been reminiscent of the Old South, with their antiquated ideas about class and honor. Even their home, with its now "coquettish decay," was constructed in the 1870s, very shortly after the end of the American Civil War; it now seems "stubborn" and stalwartly old-fashioned in the midst of gasoline pumps and cotton wagons. It will not give way to new ideas or inventions, just as the Griersons would not give way either.

Miss Emily's movements have always seemed rather inscrutable to her fellows in the town. She cannot accept her father's passing and declares that he is just fine for several days after his death. Later, she dates Homer Barron, a Yankee worker of whom her father would never have approved. She purchases poison from the druggist but will not say what for. After the involvement of her family, Homer eventually disappears for good, and Miss Emily becomes rather a recluse for most of the rest of her life. She is not understood and feels as old-fashioned and stubborn as her home, and for this reason she is described as a "fallen monument," something that seemed so strong but which, ultimately, could not stand.

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The description of Miss Emily is primarily a metaphor, in which William Faulkner compares her to a statue or other human-made artifact that has toppled or crumbled from disuse or disrepair. "Fallen" emphasizes the passive or accidental quality by which this occurred. "Monument" emphasizes that Emily was a symbol of a larger entity—in this case, a way of life—that was once prominent and worthy of commemorating. "Fallen," however, is also an old-fashioned term for a woman who has become sexually active without being married, sometimes becoming a social outcast. This may apply to Emily as well.

He goes on to describe the deterioration and decay of Emily's home, which was of an old-fashioned architectural style and had been sorely neglected after her father's death. Its association with decay is furthered when he mentions its unpleasant smell.

Emily herself is described in unflattering terms. She stopped taking pride in her appearance, to the point of becoming obese, and then stopped appearing in public at all.

Finally it becomes clear that Miss Emily had fallen very far. Her sanity was gone, she kept a corpse in her bed, and she was probably a murderer. We cannot know if she had a sexual relationship with Homer, but the townspeople apparently thought so, thus the connotation of "fallen woman."

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As was mentioned in the previous post, Emily Grierson is a vestige of the Old South before the Civil War. She comes from a prestigious, wealthy family who owned slaves and were well respected throughout the town of Jefferson. The Grierson's occupied the upper-class and also inhabited a mansion that depicted their financial success. Following the Civil War, the entire social system of the South completely changed. Slavery was outlawed, the Griersons gradually lost their fortune, and old traditions were eventually forgotten. Emily Grierson becomes a hermit who resembles a corpse, and her family's once magnificent mansion is decaying. Both Emily and her home symbolically represent how the Old South has "fallen." The former Southern aristocracy has lost its wealth and prestige following the Civil War. Similar to a "fallen monument," Emily is a sad reminder of the Old South's former glory. She and her home represent the remnants of the tradition, lifestyle, and society of the Antebellum period. 

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The Old South was ran by families with an equal financial and social power to the aristocracy in Europe.  Emily Grierson belonged to one of such families back in her youth. The irony comes after the War, and during the reconstruction of the South how families that once lived off prestige, pedigree, money, and privileges had to make do without any of it. Their old colonial mansions fell to the ground and into oblivion. The old mannerisms, customs, and traditions of old were also succumbing to the changing times. Emily, like those old, strong plantations, was a thing of the past gone awry. She is a vestige, a symbol of a past that will not return. She is a fallen monument for that same reason: All that defined her and put her in the pedestal of Old Southern magnificence is now gone forever, and she is unable to move on from it.

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