What Major Themes In “A Rose For Emily”

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As I know The themes of William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” emphasize the death of old traditions and emergence of new through Emily’s character who belongs from Southern town of Jefferson. 

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As it had already been emphasized earlier, a piece of literature may include various layers and elements that enhance the texts to make it a compelling read for the readers. So while writing an analysis, it is important to focus on those elements so that it’s constructed brilliantly. The utilization of themes and motifs in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is remarkable in its attempt to emphasize on the contradictions that prevailed and the hauntingly tragic fate of the character.

The conflict of tradition with transition

Through the character of Emily Grierson, Faulkner paints an element of mystery and elaborates on the conflict that arises from the attempt to follow the tradition even as extensive, radical transformation was underway. The town of Jefferson is located at a crossroads, trying to adopt a modern and commercial future while still steeped in the traditional values of the past. This can be evident in the description of the lost glory of the Grierson family, home to the town cemetery where the Civil War martyrs have laid to rest. Emily herself signifies the element of tradition, rigidly maintaining the same routine throughout the years even as her community opened up to the changes. She comes across as a mixed blessing in the story. As a living symbol of the past, she signifies the traditions that people wish to uphold and honour; however, she also comes across as a burden and entirely detached from the outside world, harbouring the sensations that are beyond understanding for the townspeople.

The element of death within the story

The recurring presence of death in A Rose for Emily, from the narrator’s description of Emily’s funeral service through the description of the loss of Emily’s loved ones to the deconstruction of tradition with the emergence of modern changes. In every instance, death looms over every attempt to evade it. And in the course of the story, Emily herself, a constant within the community, surrenders to death eventually. The narrator describes a drowned woman, a bloated and pale figure left too long in the water when talking about Emily’s situation. At the same time, the narrator also describes Emily as a small, spare skeleton; she is basically turned into a living, breathing corpse. Emily’s character has been established as an epitome of the Old South, a grand lady whose charm and repute has steadily decreased through the years, almost similar to the archaic sensibilities portrayed by the Griersons. The decay of the old social conduct will persist, even as many townspeople’s attempt to respect and believe in the age-old customs.

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