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William Faulkner stated that another sad and tragic manifestation of mans condition [is] in which he dreams and hopes, in which he is in conflict with himself or with his environment or with others (Faulkner 79 - 80). In A Rose for Emily, a young girl, Emily Grierson, faces a rather tragic life and undergoes conflict like that described by Faulkner. Much of Emily's conflict is internal and stems from her inability to let go of her past. This is seen through out Faulkner's short tale in examples such as Emily's refusal to pay taxes and the murdering of Homer Barron. In 1894, the mayor of the town, Colonel Sartoris, remitted Emily's taxes. He created a story saying that her father had loaned money to the town, but in actuality, the Colonel felt obligated to somehow take care of the monumental young lady since her father passed away.
However, the generations of mayors following Colonel Sartoris were not quite so generous, and constantly requested that Miss Emily pay her taxes. But she continued to refuse, and would not let go of her past experiences with Colonel Sartoris. She argued that the authorities must see Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson (74). Emily's stubbornness to accommodate to the new town officials and their request of taxes supports the argument that Emily is unable to deal with conflicts because she is unable to let go of the past. Along with her refusal to pay taxes, Emily's murder of her lover, Homer Barron, also emphasizes her desire to hold on to the past.
Emily's lover plans on leaving her, so she murders him, lying him down next to where she lays in bed. At this point in the story, Emily is trying to stop time, and embrace the joyous moment she has with her lover still there with her. In her killing of Homer, she is holding onto the past- she is attempting to hold on to the relationship that she and Homer once had, or she wished that she had. She keeps his corpse lying in bed next to her, which is implied when it was noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head and a long strand of iron-gray hair (78). Emily's inability to let go of the past has been exemplified in the examples of her refusal to pay taxes and her murdering of Homer. However, the true cause of her inability to let go of the past lies in her conflict with in herself.
Faulkner wrote A Rose for Emily with the intent to focus on the tragedy of mans inner conflict, as well as outer. The two examples given are perfect in demonstrating these two types of conflicts. In the first, Emily is in conflict with her surroundings, in which the town officials are trying to tax her. In the second, Emily is in conflict with herself. She knew that you do not murder people. She had been trained that you do not take a lover.
You marry, you dont take a lover (80). Emily tries to embrace the tradition and background of getting married, having a family, and being in love. However, these aspirations soon caused her to break down when Homer was going to leave. These conflicts, most importantly the one within herself, strongly impacted Emily to be unable to let go of the past. Over all, in A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner, Miss Emily Grierson is unable to let go of the past. This is seen through examples of conflicts between she and the town officials, as well as she and her lover, Homer Barron.
However, these conflicts are only the thin outer layer of her problems. Much of Emily's conflict is internal and stems from her inability to let go of her past. Bibliography: Works Cited Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily in Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature 5 th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/ St.
Martins, 1999. 72 - 80.
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