A Rose For Emily Theme

What is the theme of “A Rose for Emily” and how is that theme communicated?

The themes of "A Rose for Emily" include tradition versus progress and community versus isolation.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the predominant themes Faulkner explores throughout his classic short story "A Rose for Emily" concerns tradition versus progress. Faulkner examines the theme by illustrating the various ways people treat and view Miss Emily as time passes. Miss Emily Grierson and her outdated home represent the traditional Antebellum South. Her character is even referred to as a "tradition, a duty, and a care"; she is compared to a "fallen monument," and she is respected by older members of Jefferson's community. Individuals of Colonel Sartoris's generation honored Miss Emily by remitting her taxes following the death of her father. However, the newer generation of aldermen sends a deputation to her home insisting that she pay her taxes. However, they are rebuffed by Miss Emily, who instructs them to consult the deceased General Sartoris. Miss Emily's refusal to acknowledge Sartoris's death illustrates her inability to adapt to the changing culture and recognize the transience of time.

Homer Barron

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 956 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on