What values is Faulkner trying to get across in A Rose for Emily?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Without a doubt, the most obvious value in Faulkner's story is tradition.  Miss Emily lives in the South which is heavily steeped in the traditions of gender roles, aristocracy, courtship behaviors, and race issues.  Miss Emily lived under tons of rules--those set by southern society, by her father, and by herself.  None of the suitors who courted Emily were deemed good enough for her father, and so she remained unmarried.  Society set rules for black/white relations, for male/female relations, and for socio-economic relations.  Wealthy were not to fraternize with the impoverished, single women were not to spend time alone with men when not in the company of a chaperone, and there were definite rules regarding the communion of black and white people.

Reputation is a huge part of this tradition, and Miss Emily held fast to the reputation of her family name for all she was worth.

Miss Emily was stuck in her tradition and could not have changed completely to keep up with the modernizations of her neighborhood and town even if she had wanted to...the south was too much a part of her.  Marriage was a part of the tradition for men and women who spent unchaperoned time together which is why Homer ended up the way he did.

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A Rose for Emily

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