The story, like many of Faulkner's stories, is set in Jefferson, the county seat of Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. Jefferson is a small town filled with families that are rooted deeply in the history of the South and its culture. The people of Jefferson are united in their values and opinions; they think as one. In "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner develops the town so that it functions as a character in the story, not as a collection of individuals, but as a force to be reckoned with.
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In response to the setting--
Intrinsic to the development of both character and conflict, the setting of "A Rose for Emily" is Jefferson, the county seat of Faulkner's fictional kingdom that he named Yoknapatawpha county, a county in which Colonel Sartoris is an important figure.
Devasted by the emancipation of slaves after the Civil War, the South was inundated by Northern opportunists, known as carpetbaggers. Against the Northerners who had no code of conduct, the newly-poor plantation owners retained their aristocratic arrogance. And, the code of chivalry of such men as Emily Grierson's father protected the women against encounters with men such as Homer Barron. This code of chivalry keeps Colonel Sartoris from taxing the poor spinster and Judge Stevens from confronting Emily about the smell emanating from her house.
However, the new generations of the South are removed from these antiquated ways, and it is this conflict between twentieth century and antebellum ways that is presented in Emily's character.