"A Rose for Emily"


Writing 151


Paper #1



Change is a thing that many people aren\'t very happy about because they like things the way they are or they are used to it. Even though they donít\' like it, they accept it and try to deal with it in a positive way. This isnít the case with Miss Emily Grierson in "A Rose for Emily" written by William Faulkner. A major conflict in this story is between Miss Emily and the town she lives in. The townspeople are moving ahead with time but Miss Emily stays behind which causes her to become isolated from the people.


Miss Emily was a woman of high social status in her town. " Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a careÖ" (Faulkner 75). Her father was very overprotective of her. He didnít let her out; she was too good for all the men. When he died, she wouldnít believe it. It took her a few days to accept the fact that her father was no longer alive. Miss Emily\'s social status started to decline. She hasnít been as important as she was when her father was alive. The new generation, with modern ideas, wanted to treat her the same way as all the others. But Miss Emily didnít like change and wanted to be treated differently as she always was. She believed she still held the same place in society as she did in her early days. She didnít pay her taxes. She simply told


the authority "I have no taxes in Jefferson" (Faulkner 76) She didn\'t tell the pharmacist what she wanted the arsenic for. The ladies invited her to join them in their social gatherings and she refused. She obviously wanted to be living as she was in her earlier times and didnít want anything to change.


The town though, was going through a lot of changes. The town was being developed. They paved the sidewalks and started a postal service. As everyone was given an address and a mailbox to put in their houses, Miss Emily refused to do this. People started renovating and rebuilding their houses but Miss Emily of course didnít do a single thing. "Only Miss Emily\'s house was left, lifting its stubborn coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps" (Faulkner 75) She left it as it was.


"It is the Past pitted against the Presentóthe Past with its social decorum, the Present with everything set down in the books" (West 68). Emily is still "pitted" in the past and doesnít want to come out into the present. The life forced by her father has become her way of life and it has trapped her in time. She\'s gotten so used to her isolation that she can\'t come out of it anymore. She doesnít know anything other than loneliness because thatís the way she always was.


" There are, we are told, two views of time: (1) the world of the present, viewing time as a mechanical progression in which the past is a diminishing road, never to be encountered again; (2) the world of tradition, viewing the past as a huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches" (West 70). Miss Emily obviously views time as the world of tradition. The townspeople though, view time as the world of present leaving


Miss Emily behind. Miss Emily was not able to catch up with the townspeople so she was isolated from them.


The town painted a picture a picture of their own that explained Miss Emily\'s behavior. "We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door." Karl Zink describes this as "a freezing of time and motion in order that a certain quality of the human experience may be held and contemplated" (Zink 291). Even the townspeople didnít expect her to change. They pictured her in a scene with her father dominating over her, controlling her and they viewed the scene as a tableau, which Zink describes as a picture that is "frozen in