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Hints that "A Rose for Emily" is set in the South

Summary:

Hints that "A Rose for Emily" is set in the South include references to Southern social customs, the decaying grandeur of Emily's home, the presence of Confederate soldiers' graves, and the use of traditional Southern titles such as "Colonel." Additionally, the story's setting in the fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi, and the characters' Southern dialects further reinforce the Southern setting.

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What hints in Section I suggest "A Rose for Emily" takes place in the South?

The first major hint, or evidence that the story takes place in the south is who the author is, William Faulkner.  Born in Mississippi in 1897, he used his own family as a model for the story.  His great-grandfather was the inspiration for Colonel Sartoris

Within the first section of the story, there are indications that the story takes place in the South.  The following passages make reference to the "Negro." Blacks are clearly segregated and relegated to a lower class role, like the former slaves that they are. 

"Colonel Sartoris, the mayor--he who fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron-remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity." (Faulkner) 

Later in the story, mention of the Negro who works in Miss Emily's house also gives an indication that the story is set in the South.

"They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow." (Faulkner)

"The Negro led them into the parlor." (Faulkner) 

"When the Negro opened the blinds of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked;" 

Three times in one paragraph Faulkner refers to the servant as the Negro, he is not mentioned by name.  This suggests the residual resentment that long lingered in the South when they were defeated in the Civil War.  

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What hints in Section I suggest "A Rose for Emily" takes place in the South?

There are several hints in the opening section of this story that the setting is in the American South. To begin with, the description of the architecture of Miss Emily Grierson's house evokes a particular style which was popular in the South in the antebellum period, with its "cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies." Houses in this style would not be common in the North of the country. Next, the mention of cotton wagons and "cotton gins" (machines which separated the different parts of the cotton plant) is another indication that the story has a Southern setting, given that the South thrived on the cotton industry for much of the nineteenth century.

The apparent racial dynamics of the town also suggest a Southern setting. We are told that Miss Emily's house has been visited by nobody but an "old Negro" for the past ten years. The fact that Emily keeps a black servant harks back to the days where slavery was very common in the South. There is also mention of an old law which forbade black women to appear in the streets without an apron; the narrator implies that this law belongs to the old-fashioned sensibility of the area, to which Emily also ascribes.

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What hints in Section I suggest "A Rose for Emily" takes place in the South?

Each of the following quotes hints at southern tradition. There is the style of the house, the way of speaking "Miss Emily, Colonel Sartoris), and the name of the town -- Jefferson.

"It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies"

"Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor--he who fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron-remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. Not that Miss Emily would have accepted charity. Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily's father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying. Only a man of Colonel Sartoris' generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it."

"See Colonel Sartoris." (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) "I have no taxes in Jefferson. Tobe!" The Negro appeared. "Show these gentlemen out.""

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What hints in Section I suggest "A Rose for Emily" takes place in the South?

In section one of "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner we get a few details, as mentioned in the fine answer from aszerdi (above), but mostly what we get is a sense that this story is set in the South based on several things.

First of all, Faulkner's description indicates the story's southern setting. The fact that Miss Emily's elaborately ornate house was built in the seventies, has a cotton gin, and was once part of a well-to-do and important neighborhood suggests the South after the Civil War. Even the word "coquettish" (though it is used to describe the decay of the house) is suggestive of a Southern belle, as is the letter Miss Emily writes in " a thin, flowing calligraphy." The portrait and the parlor are often associated with genteel southern hospitality, as well. There is also a clear reference to the Civil War when Faulkner describes Miss Emily's final resting place.

And now Miss Emily had gone to join the representatives of those august names where they lay in the cedar-bemused cemetery among the ranked and anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson.

We do know that most of the Civil War battles were fought in the South, so it is reasonable to assume Jefferson is a southern town.

The specific people mentioned in this section also indicate a setting in the South. The fact that Miss Emily has a Negro manservant also suggests the south, as does the reference to Colonel Sartoris several times in this section. The fact that the town had an edict that Negro women can only appear in public if they are wearing an apron is a rather tragic indicator of the South after the Civil War, as well.

Most importantly, the protagonist of the story is always referred to as "Miss Emily." Not Emily, not Emily Grierson, but Miss Emily. This is a clear indication that the story is set in the South.

It is true that nothing in this section of the story clearly and directly says the story takes place in the South, and none of these details would not be enough on their own to make that claim. When considered as a whole, however, it seems obvious that this story is, indeed, set in the South.

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What hints in Section 1 suggest "A Rose for Emily" is set in the South?

There are other hints, too, in Section I. For example, the mayor, Colonel Sartoris, "fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron (288), and also a reference to the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. 

Additionally, all of Miss Emily's servants are "Negro," and in the North, servants were less likely to be so.  The prevalence of African-American servants in the South was largely a function of the aftermath of the Civil War and the freeing of slaves, who seldom had the financial wherewithal to leave the areas in which they had been slaves.  Many former slaves stayed with the plantations on which they had been enslaved, continuing to be field workers or house servants. 

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What hints in Section 1 suggest "A Rose for Emily" is set in the South?

The first hints as to the story's Southern setting are the references to the cotton gins and cotton wagons. These are followed by allusions to the cemetery where the bodies of Union and Confederate soldiers were buried following the battle of Jefferson, which suggests that the setting of the story has a Civil War history. Another hint of the story's Southern setting is the information that "Colonel Sartoris" issued an order "that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron." It was a Southern custom to continue to refer to former Confederate officers by the title of their military rank, and the Colonel's "edict" suggests the post-Civil war culture of the South. Finally, Miss Emily's having a "man servant" named Tobe also points to a Southern setting. All of these details make Faulkner's description Emily's old and decaying home, once grand, especially meaningful.

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