Southern Culture In William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily

2014 Words9 Pages
Imagine what it must be like to stand apart from the rest of society. Emily Grierson, the main character in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”, experiences this first hand. In the beginning, Miss Emily, as well as her house, represents the traditional southern culture among the industrialized town. Southern culture is prideful of tradition, family, hierarchy, and community. Throughout the story, the town’s view of Miss Emily’s house as well the protruding smell develops the decline of the southern culture. As the story develops, the town’s attempt to modernize Miss Emily, as well as her death, and the town’s entrance into her house complete the decline of the southern culture. While many readers view Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” as the…show more content…
The town’s attempt to modernize Miss Emily’s house represents the decline of the southern culture. Despite Miss Emily’s refusal to conform, the town continuously evolves with the arrival of the newest generation: “when the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them” (Faulkner 83). The town realizes Emily will not conform to the norms of society, despite this, their desire to modernize Emily’s house is an attempt to erase the old southern traditions. While the town desires to completely erase the old southern culture, Miss Emily’s refusal to do further so represent the value of tradition for Miss Emily. Despite Miss Emily’s dedication, the continuously evolving town attempts to hide the old southern culture, in an attempt to highlight the new society. After an attempt to modernize the house, the town attempts to modernize Miss Emily. The town’s attempt at modernizing Miss Emily further develops the decline of the southern values. After Miss Emily’s refusal to pay her taxes, the town’s description of Emily suggests the death of the southern culture: “she looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue” (Faulkner 80). The town’s description of Miss Emily,…show more content…
Upon entering Emily’s house, the town’s view of the house further develops the archaic look. As the town enters the house, dust covers everything in sight: “we knew that there was one room…which no one had seen in forty years, and which would have to be forced. They waited until Miss Emily was decently in the ground before they opened it” (Faulkner 84). The town waits to enter the room until the burial of Miss Emily in order to assure her death. The discovery of the room, hidden from society for forty years, suggests the decline of the southern value of family due to the discovery of a key aspect of Miss Emily’s life. Miss Emily is able to maintain the traditional southern culture for as long as possible, until the town discovers the room. The room represents the last part of the previous generations, which the town desires to eliminate as soon as possible. The entrance into the room completes the decline of the southern culture. After discovering the room, the town enters to discover the mystery of Miss Emily: “the violence of breaking down the door seemed to fill this room with pervading dust. A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room” (Faulkner 84). The town violently opens the room, hidden from society, suggesting the violent decline of the southern culture. Miss Emily’s room represents the traditional southern family due

More about Southern Culture In William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily

Open Document