A Rose for Emily; Historical Criticism

During the 1930's when a Rose for Emily was written the Great Depression was in process and the country was at a frantic panic. Pre depression the country was in an age dubbed the "Roaring 20s" where mass spending was happening and new inventions were rising. Before the depression hit, everyone was living care free and great but once the depression hit, a financial crisis occurred and everything spiraled out of control for many Americans. Many people lost everything and didn't have a dollar to their name. This type of event is equivalent to what the South experienced during the times of the civil war. Prior to the civil war, life was wonderful for the South, they had plantations, slaves, and were living in Southern class. Once the civil war hit, the people in the south lost everything, plantations were destroyed, slaves were set free, and this idea of a "new south" was emerging.

In the passage, A Rose for Emily, this idea of the new south emerging and the old south dying out was apparent throughout. Miss Emily was the last of her family and the last of the old south to be living in the town. Before the Civil War, she had everything, but afterwards she lost everything including her family. Prior to the Great Depression, Americans had everything, but afterwards they lost everything, literally. Miss Emily being from the old south, strongly disliked, the idea of the new south. She ignored town officials, refused federal government programs, and overall isolated herself from the town. Evidence of Miss Emily refusing to speak to town officials:

"When the next generation, with its more modem ideas, became mayors and aldermen, this arrangement created some little dissatisfaction. On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. February came, and there was no reply. They wrote her a formal letter, asking her to call at the sheriff s office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. The tax notice was also enclosed, without comment."

Evidence of Miss Emily refusing government program services:

"Then the newer generation became the backbone and the spirit of the town, and the painting pupils grew up and fell away and did not send their children to her with boxes of colour and tedious brushes and pictures cut from the ladies' magazines. The front door closed4upon the last one and remained closed for good. When the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen tot hem."

Evidence of Miss Emily isolating herself from the town:

"Each December we sent her a tax notice, which would be returned by the post office a week later, unclaimed. Now and then we would see her in one of the downstairs windows-she had evidently shut up the top floor of the house-like the carven torso of an idol in a niche, looking or not looking at us, we could never tell which."

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