There is no finer example of a particular region of the world attempting to hold on to the past like a time worn memory, like the South. In the United States, the Civil War divided not only a nation, but an entire population, as it literally pitted brother against brother. Interestingly, while most believe that this was a war that was fought over slavery, it truly was not. A war that was almost purely economically motivated, the American Civil War actually separated the people into two distinct categories: those of the industrialized North and everyone else.
It is into this dichotomous world that Miss Emily Grierson is born and raised. Believing herself to be quite a bit better than her peers due to her father's place in the community, Emily embodies the darker side of the gracious, delicate Southern Belle. She becomes the haughty, nasty, condescending character who will never let go of the belief that one should save all Dixie cups, because the South will rise again and when it does she will take her proper place at the head of the community. It is here that the façade begins, for Emily embodies the two faces of the South, the old order that believes in keeping up appearances at all costs, juxtaposed to the New South, which refuses to lie to cover its sins any longer.
William Faulkner uses Emily as a way to expose the fabrications of which the Old South was fond. They told themselves that their slaves were happier working in the fields and would not want to be free. They told themselves that ladies behaved certain ways and that chivalry was a code of ethics by which the Southern Gentleman would live and die. An excellent example of this facade is when Colonel Sartoris invents a story about Emily's father loaning money to the town. The entire fabrication revolved around Miss Emily owing money and no one wanting to ask a lady for money.
[...] Keeping Up Appearances: The Facade of Moonlight and Magnolias in Rose for Emily” There is no finer example of a particular region of the world attempting to hold on to the past like a time worn memory, like the South. In the United States, the Civil War divided not only a nation, but an entire population, as it literally pitted brother against brother. Interestingly, while most believe that this was a war that was fought over slavery, it truly was not. [...]
[...] They are both perpetrators of great crimes, even though those who perpetrated them would not agree. They both forced their wills upon others. They both murdered in the name of Justice and Right. The Old South believed it was their right and privilege to own other human beings. Miss Emily believed it was hers to have Homer Barton however she chose to have him dead or alive. Instead of interpreting the character of Miss Emily as a victim or a jilted lover, one could really see her as the Feminist heroine of the story. [...]
[...] While the men of the town try their best to get her to conform to modern ideas and ways, she staunchly refuses. She shakes a proverbial fist in their faces and dismisses them petulantly. After the war, the South did much the same thing. Resigned to its fate, it accepted, albeit reluctantly, that life had to change. No longer could they depend on slave labor and the rights of the privileged upper classes to carry them through. In the New South, they recognized that they had to adapt, or be defeated. [...]
[...] Some allowed the Carpetbaggers and Yankee ‘upstarts' to come in and help rebuild. However, while that happened, there was a motive. They accepted help only so much as it would benefit them in the long run, believing that one day they would see everything returned to its proper place. Those who held on to the old ways stuck out and were easily recognizable. Those who held on to the old ways and beliefs eventually fell by the wayside, like a long forgotten memory. [...]
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