William Faulkner’s “A rose for Emily”, is a great tale that revolves around a very serious note of life and reminds about the controversial impact of social traditions and the lack of positive change with respect to time. It is very interesting to see the way things got more and more complex for Emily however there was not much that the traditions offered and a change was not welcomed. In this paper we will study and find out if “A rose for Emily successfully highlights the need to Change traditions, with time, if required, as traditions are made for a happy life and not to live life for traditions”. (Ruthmann)
As we proceed we will discuss the idea of “traditions Vs Change” as reflected from this work, by Faulkner and we will further relate it to the importance of life and the relation of live with these traditions. Finally we will deduce if the above statement holds true.
“Faulkner has very beautifully conveyed this message to us about the struggle that Emily faces due to her desire to maintain traditions and that too in the face of widespread”. (Paul) There is a very strong use of modern versus old and the faded glory of Emily’s house which has a very deep connection to the cemetery in town creates that gloomy effect proves that Emily is more or less herself a tradition; she has restricted herself from the penetration of social change in the environment around her.
“It will not be wrong to say that there was a sharp contrast created by the strange social treatment of Emily, as on one had where she was respected and honored for carrying the traditions well and sustaining with them, on the other hand she was simply cut-off from the society. The above was not something that happened naturally but was proactively invited by Emily, she refused to give time, to time and hence the world kept on moving ahead and by default, she lagged behind.” (Gilliam) There are several symbols in the story that show this unreasonable carry forward of traditions, like the macabre bridal chamber, all these are signs of induced change restriction which resulted in something that Faulkner showed us by the end of the story.
A war between Life and Death: whose victory do we expect?
“Death is always unexpected and sudden but life sustains, as the life keeps that glow alive and death tranquilizes it, however in this case there was a close association of life and death, and we saw that although Emily was alive and not physically dead, the glow of her soul and the glory of earthy existence was dead since a long time; she lived just to live and death approached and conquered gradually now once again the idea of overlap between death and life sustains as it is clear that while living she was dying and while dying she was still alive.” (Ruthmann)
But Faulkner again very wisely moved to a separate thought which brought up Emily’s bizarre relationship with the earthly bodies of the dear ones dead. Although the issue of necrophilia was understood at the time of her father’s death, her association with Homer’s death created the idea of her possessiveness with respect to love and although she wanted to keep the love close to her she did not realize that the lifelessness would actually make him distant and will not make her attain everlasting connection.” (Kellogg)
Once again we see that trying to sustain with whatever she had, she was not able to even keep what she wanted to; this idea is very close to the fact that avoiding change can really make things difficult and this is what made death approach to her in a slow and steady manner. “Hence, we can see here that if she would have accepted the changes and would have understood the natural phenomenon of time, which is to move ahead and never stop, she would never had faced all that.” (Ruthmann)
Looking at the above points I would also believe that this tale revolves around the theme of Change in traditions to accept life the way it comes and there fore it will be right to say that “A rose for Emily successfully highlights the need to Change traditions, with time, if required, as traditions are made for a happy life and not to live life for traditions”.
Faulkner, William. A Rose For Emily. Virginia, 1930.
Gilliam, Phil. "A Rose For Emily". 27 April 2011 <http://www.rose-for-emily.com/>.
Kellogg, Daniel. Historical Context: A Rose for Emily. 28 April 2011 <http://engl13318sp10.pbworks.com/w/page/25264649/Historical-Context:-A-Rose-for-Emily>.
Paul, Gregory. Analysis: A rose for Emily. 27 April 2011 <checamipagina.com/indexi2/?for=A-rose-for-emily-analysis>.
Ruthmann, Davina. The Chronology of William Faulkner’s "A Rose for Emily". Wuppertal: University of Wuppertal, 2005.