Conflict between the North and the South
—The Main Cause of Miss Emily’s Tragedy
A Rose For Emily, among several of William Faulkner’s short stories, is always the favorite of anthologists. This strange story of love, obsession, and death enjoys special favor and regard among both readers and critics. William Faulkner is widely considered to be one of the greatest American authors of the twentieth century. A Rose For Emily is identified with a particular region and time (Mississippi in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries). The author was also extremely accomplished in a technical sense. This short story features bold experimentation with shifts in time and narrative. The short story is a tragedy in which Miss Emily, the main character, is brought to ruin and suffers extreme sorrow, as a consequence of the tragic flaw, the moral weakness, and the inability to cope with the unfavorable circumstances. Those who need most help will not take help from the others. Miss Emily loses in the battle against her surroundings, and it is the conflict between the North and the South that mainly causes Miss Emily’s tragedy.
The story happens in the South after the Civil War. Emily Grierson, referred to as Miss Emily throughout the story, is the main character of A Rose For Emily. An unnamed narrator tells her strange story through a series of flashbacks. She is essentially the town eccentric. The narrator compares her to “an idol in a niche…dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.” Emily is born to a proud, aristocratic family sometime during the Civil War; her life in many ways reflects the disintegration of the Old South during the Reconstruction and the early twentieth century.
The South’s outdated plantation economy, based so upon slave labor, was destroyed by emancipation. Northern opportunists, like Homer, came in hordes to take advantage of the economic chaos. Some Southern aristocrats found t...