I need help with a thesis statement for an essay on "A Rose for Emily" about how the conflict of the story is her resistance to change...Any ideas....I am stuck.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the ways to brainstorm on a topic relative to a literary work is to find passages that relate to this topic. For instance, one interpretation of the character of Emily Grierson views her as representative of the patriarchal Old South that resists change.  With this interpretation, then, the reader can locate relevant passages, such as these:

Alive Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris....remitted her taxes (Part I)

So she vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell. (Part II) 

When her father died....Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual with no trace of grief on her face.  She told them that her father was not dead....and we new that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will. (Part II)

There are other passages such as the ones cited above in subsequent sections that indicate Emily's resistance to change such as her giving china painting lessons.  Further, in her affair with Homer Barron, the Northerner, her attempt to keep this man can be viewed as the Old South's efforts to rise again against the North.  Or, it can be viewed as her attempt to "cling to that which had robbed her"--an effort to keep a suitor since her father had run off all others.

Clearly, there are upon Miss Emily the influences of the Old South with its patriarchy which is represented by her father.  These influences have become so monumental--she is described as "a monument" in the story--that Emily cannot rid herself of this tradition that has become so ingrained in her.  For, she remains in the old house, she retains the Negro servant,

she passed from generation to generation--dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse. (Part III)

This last quote seems central to the conflicts in the character of Emily  through the story as she resists change. So, in composing the thesis of how Miss Emily Grierson conflicts with society in her resistance to change, you may consider 3 main ways (how) in which she does or 3 main reasons why she does and then support these points with explanations that are illustrated with citations from the story.

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A Rose for Emily

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