What connections can be drawn between the author's life and the themes presented in "A Rose for Emily"?

The theme of loss of love is an important one in "A Rose for Emily," not only in the personal lives of Miss Emily and William Faulkner, but also in the lives of the whole town.

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One theme that arises within "A Rose for Emily" is the intense pain generated from lost love. In the story, Miss Emily becomes enamored with Homer Barron. The town collectively hopes for happiness for her as they note behaviors which they assume predict an impending wedding:

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One theme that arises within "A Rose for Emily" is the intense pain generated from lost love. In the story, Miss Emily becomes enamored with Homer Barron. The town collectively hopes for happiness for her as they note behaviors which they assume predict an impending wedding:

We learned that Miss Emily had been to the jeweler's and ordered a man's toilet set in silver, with the letters H. B. on each piece. Two days later we learned that she had bought a complete outfit of men's clothing, including a nightshirt, and we said, "They are married." We were really glad.

However, Homer Barron disappears (the true reasons unknown to the townspeople), and Miss Emily is once again alone. At the end of the story, it is clear that she could not bear the thought of being without Homer and has physically clung to him for many years.

Although Faulkner didn't take such macabre measures, he, too, loved deeply and clung to hope of a physical reunion. In his youth, he met Estelle Oldham, and Faulkner immediately formed an intense bond with her. Unfortunately, she was also being pursued by a young lawyer from a prominent family, and this man proposed before Faulkner had a chance. Pressured by her family, Estelle accepted the proposal from Cornell Franklin. Years passed, and this marriage ended in divorce. Faulkner immediately let Estelle know that he had loved her all those years and that he was still interested in marrying her. Six months later, they were married.

The connection between Faulkner and Miss Emily reflects that a deep love permeates the soul and motivates people to hold on to hope.

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Connections that can be made between the life of author William Faulkner and themes of his short story "A Rose for Emily" are the themes of Remembrance of the Past, Tradition versus Change and New Ways, and Tragic Lives of the Past.

  • Remembrance of the Past

As a son of the South who returned from World War I, William Faulkner found his beloved South in decline. He gathered scraps of family tradition, gossip from the Courthouse Square, memories from his childhood in Oxford, Mississippi, and tales from his great-grandfather, William Clark Faulkner, the "Old Colonel," a patriarch whose statue towered among the ruins of a family plantation when Faulkner was a boy. Not unlike Emily Grierson, who "had been a tradition" but is forced into a new world, Faulkner found himself immersed into two worlds into which the lines between the past and the present were blurred.

  • Tradition versus Change and New Ways

When William was young, like Emily, he was often isolated and detached because he felt a longing for the past when the South was prosperous and proud. Emily herself was part of the manners and traditions of the Old South, much like the relics that the young Faulkner loved to hear about from his grandfather, who, like Emily's father, was a proud and indomitable representative of a bygone era. Also, as a youth, Faulkner was known for having a penchant for isolation and detached observation, two qualities that provided him the ability to retell events from the past.

  • Tragic Lives of the Past

About "A Rose for Emily" Faulkner wrote, 

The title was an allegorical title; the meaning here was a woman who had had a tragedy, an irrevocable tragedy and nothing could be done about it, and I pitied her and this was a salute...to a woman you would hand a rose.

Faulkner, too, had a sense of the tragic as, like Emily, he found himself caught between the past for which he had a strong love and the present, about which he was ambivalent. Each of them "clung to that which had robbed them." Emily kept the memory of her father, and she preserved her lover; Faulkner retained the memory of his grandfather in his characters and the tales of the Old South, and he preserved his love of the South in his literature.

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