Why is Emily called a "fallen monument" in the first paragraph?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was mentioned in the previous post, Emily Grierson is a vestige of the Old South before the Civil War. She comes from a prestigious, wealthy family who owned slaves and were well respected throughout the town of Jefferson. The Grierson's occupied the upper-class and also inhabited a mansion that depicted their financial success. Following the Civil War, the entire social system of the South completely changed. Slavery was outlawed, the Griersons gradually lost their fortune, and old traditions were eventually forgotten. Emily Grierson becomes a hermit who resembles a corpse, and her family's once magnificent mansion is decaying. Both Emily and her home symbolically represent how the Old South has "fallen." The former Southern aristocracy has lost its wealth and prestige following the Civil War. Similar to a "fallen monument," Emily is a sad reminder of the Old South's former glory. She and her home represent the remnants of the tradition, lifestyle, and society of the Antebellum period. 

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Old South was ran by families with an equal financial and social power to the aristocracy in Europe.  Emily Grierson belonged to one of such families back in her youth. The irony comes after the War, and during the reconstruction of the South how families that once lived off prestige, pedigree, money, and privileges had to make do without any of it. Their old colonial mansions fell to the ground and into oblivion. The old mannerisms, customs, and traditions of old were also succumbing to the changing times. Emily, like those old, strong plantations, was a thing of the past gone awry. She is a vestige, a symbol of a past that will not return. She is a fallen monument for that same reason: All that defined her and put her in the pedestal of Old Southern magnificence is now gone forever, and she is unable to move on from it.

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A Rose for Emily

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