Time and setting are important elements of “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. Set in the fictional Southern town of Jefferson, Mississippi, this short story explores themes such as isolation, tradition, and change through its depiction of the main character, Emily Grierson.
Throughout the story, we see how both time and setting play a key role in shaping Emily’s experiences and outlook on life. For example, time is used to highlight the changing values and attitudes of society over the course of many decades. Meanwhile, the setting plays an important role in reinforcing Emily’s sense of isolation from others in her community. Together, these elements help to deepen our understanding of this complex character and her struggles throughout her life.
In William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily, the use of time to highlight aspects of the setting and vice versa is prevalent. To start, Faulkner provides the reader with a completed puzzle before allowing him or her to examine this piece by piece, step by step. He enhances the plot and offers two different points of view on time represented by the characters through this technique. The first perspective (the contemporary world) looks at time as a linear progress in which the past is a narrowing road.
The second perspective (the world of the past) is a timeless, cyclical view in which the present is only a phase. Faulkner’s use of time creates a unique perspective of both the characters and setting.
The story A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner is set in the fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi. The story spans several decades, from the 1890s to the 1930s. In the story, Miss Emily Grierson is a young woman from a wealthy and respected family who is slowly losing her grip on reality. The townspeople gossip about her and she eventually becomes a recluse. After her father dies, she refuses to leave her home and she stops paying taxes. The townspeople try to get her to leave, but she refuses to do so.
Faulkner uses the element of time in A Rose for Emily to paint a vivid picture of the setting and enhance the plot. On one hand, he presents time as a mechanical progression in which the past is seen as a diminishing road. The townspeople view Miss Emily’s life through this lens, seeing her as someone who is slowly becoming more and more detached from reality.
On the other hand, Faulkner also portrays time as a timeless, cyclical cycle in which events are constantly repeating themselves throughout history. This perspective is reflected in Miss Emily’s refusal to move on after her father dies and her unwillingness to leave her ancestral home. Through his masterful use of time, Faulkner creates a unique and compelling story that explores the human condition.
The second viewpoint (the world of tradition and the past) sees the past as a vast meadow that no winter ever quite reaches, with them now being separated by a narrow passageway formed by the most recent decade of years. The point of view is that of Homer and contemporary youth. The confederate soldiers’ perspective is similar to that presented by Richard III in Shakespeare’s play. For her part, Emily holds the same two points of view: firstly, there is no barrier between her and the meadow; secondly, she does not believe there should be one.
The present is only a dim flicker in the immense glare of eternity. Faulkner’s use of time in “A Rose for Emily” is essential to the story’s effect. The story opens with the news of Miss Emily’s death and the preparations for her funeral. The townspeople are gossiping about her, speculating about her mysterious life. We learn that she was a source of great fascination for them, an object of both pity and contempt.
The narrator then takes us back in time, to when Miss Emily was a young girl. We see her living in a grand house with her father, who is a wealthy man. He is very strict with her and does not allow her to have any friends. As a result, she is very lonely. The townspeople are not always kind to Miss Emily. They gossip about her and make fun of her. However, they are also intrigued by her and fascinated by her strange life.
When her father dies, Miss Emily is left all alone. She becomes even more reclusive and eccentric. The townspeople start to feel sorry for her and they begin to treat her with more respect. However, their pity turns to horror when it is discovered that she has been secretly keeping the corpse of her lover, Homer Barron, in her bedroom!
Faulkner’s use of time shifts helps to create a sense of mystery and suspense around Miss Emily’s character. We see her as a young girl, living in grand isolation with her father and then later as an old woman, isolated from the rest of the town. The shifting perspectives help to create an unsettling atmosphere and keep the reader engaged throughout the story. Ultimately, Faulkner’s use of time serves to highlight the strange nature of Miss Emily’s life and her tragic descent into madness and isolation.
Miss Emily’s burial is the beginning of the narrative, where the men consider her a fallen monument and the women are eager to view her home. He paints a picture of a woman who is fragile because she has fallen but as significant and representative as a monument.
The house’s features are meant to represent Miss Emily and symbolize what she represents. It was built on what had formerly been considered one of the most select roads in town (which is to say, another version). The narrator (which is the town in this case) describes it as obstinate and coquettish.
A house that stands apart from the others, and never changes. A house with a “queer,” unfinished look. A house that has stood there for decades with only one window on the main floor without lights in it at night. A monument that cannot be forgotten or erased like Miss Emily herself.
A monument to her father who is described as a man of high repute (he is retired Colonel) who built his daughter an enormous house and guarded her carefully. The image we get of him is one who feels strongly about losing control over his child and becomes hostile towards those who come near her, perhaps afraid that they will take away what he so carefully constructed for his beloved daughter.
Miss Emily’s isolation from society can also be felt throughout the story. The townsfolk are eager to see the inside of her house, but Miss Emily is so suspicious that she refuses to open it up for them. She feels a sense of entitlement and resentment towards society because they have not let her live independently despite being an adult woman. A combination of these elements results in a tense relationship between her and the people around her, who view her as a relic from another era rather than someone living alongside them.
Overall, Miss Emily’s time and setting in “A Rose for Emily” reflect the complexities of her character as well as the social norms of the time period. By depicting this tension through both subtle and overt details, Faulkner sheds light on the dynamics between individuals and society in his time.