What general observations about the society that Faulkner depicts can be made after reading "A Rose for Emily"? 

What general observations about the society that Faulkner depicts can be made after reading "A Rose for Emily"?

 

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first general observation we can make is that there were distinct gender roles in this society. Miss Emily, as a southern woman, is expected to be generally passive and to fulfill her destiny by marrying a man who can support her. She is expected first to be taken care of, guided, and supported by her father and then by a husband. Her remaining single is considered an eccentricity or failure. Another part of her gender role involves physical attractiveness, viewed as a sort of female obligation, which she displays as a young woman and then loses after she is jilted. 

Next, we see strong elements of racial segregation. Blacks appear in the story only as servants. As well as racial segregation, we see strong class distinctions, in which certain roles and behaviors are considered class-appropriate and social interactions are restricted by class.

Finally, we see a South that is changing rapidly, with Miss Emily (and Colonel Sartoris) representing the Old South and Homer and the aldermen belonging to "the next generation, with its more modern ideas," representing the New South.

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A Rose for Emily

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