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Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," like much of Faulkner's fiction, occurs in the South following the Civil War. The war devastated the South's economy, and the town is trying to recover from that devastation.
Emily would have grown up in the ante-bellum South, before the Civil War. That was when her family was wealthy, we assume. She is poor in the story's present, after the economy has crashed.
This setting feeds into her refusal to give up the past. She clings to her father, to her home, to Homer, as many in the South following the Civil War tried to hold on to a past they saw as glorious.
William Faulkner is most highly regarded by some critics for his short stories rather than his novels and like "A Rose For Emily" many are set in the south. In fact, many of the characters he presented firstly in his short stories appear as more developed characters in his novels. He often used his short stories to fill in the gaps of the historical development of Yoknapatawpha county even from the first arrival of the white man. For example, "A Rose For Emily" covers nearly three generations of time. Faulkner himself knew the importance of heredity and family background history and was able to write about the idea of reputation. He came from a similar family and also knew that such families could be arrogant to the p;oint of unreality - as in Emily's case.
William Faulkner was to make his writing career revolve about what has been called his own unique worldly place around Oxford, Mississippi. Sherwood Anderson (1876–1941) had advised him to write what he knew, and he knew Oxford. And so Faulkner, almost from the start of his career, developed the life and character of the area, to which he gave the name "Yoknapatawpha County," with "Jefferson" as its county seat, even going so far as to visualize a specific geographical area for the habitations of his various characters. "A Rose for Emily" is thus part of a vast imaginary chronicle of an era of American life in the South as Faulkner visualized it.
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