A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner is a tale of Miss Emily Grierson, whose funeral drew the attention of the entire population of Jefferson, a small southern town. There were many changes occurring in the world After World War One. Man’s need to follow tradition was now being challenged by a continually changing modern world. William Faulkner aptly reflects the turmoil of the past and the present in, “ A Rose for Emily”. The conflict between the past and the present is symbolized in the beginning of the story by this description, “ only now Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores” (331). It is ironic that the same description “ stubborn and coquettish decay” can be a description for Miss Emily as well. And just like her house, which had once been white and on a “ select street”, Miss Emily had been a slim young girl dressed in white. But as the house fell into decay so had Miss Emily,” she looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue”(332). Faulkner’s Emily did not have the individual confidence, or maybe self-esteem and self-worth, to believe that she could
Miss Emily managed to make it to age thirty still being single with only the help of her father and "she would" continue to cling to that which had robbed her"(472). She had been ruled by her father, deemed a crazy woman by the town and lost many men that had come calling her. Miss Emily hold on the past had made her a victim of her own values. Emily wanted to be loved, and she was determined that Homer would be her true love to rescue her from fear, fear of being alone. By over-protecting Emily and "clutching a horsewhip"(471) to control her life, caused her to become hermit-like in the town she grew up in and knew very well. Now the little room above the stairs became the past for Miss Emily. Beside him, a pillow with the " indentation of a head" and a strand of gray hair told the macabre story. Emily and such"(471) This could have ended being a grim horror story but instead it shows a repressed, overprotected woman denied a chance to live a normal life because of the times. The bridal room is the color of roses and symbolizes the color of love. And that"tms the last we saw of Homer Barron" (221). Some of us choose not to let an unfortunate way of life rule us, Miss Emily on the other hand did not have self-esteem, self-worth and confidence to persuade her otherwise. Miss Emily, a Southern aristocrat, is the ideal of past values and Homer, a northern laborer, is a part of the ever-changing present. After the burial of Miss Emily, the door of the little room was broken down and the past was finally allowed to escape its tomb. The few flashes of individuality showed her ability to rise to the occasion, to overcome her dependency, when the action was the only solution available.