The short story A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner demonstrates a woman's reluctance towards the changes. The author’s usage of imagery determines a tone of the general topic of the story, death. The main character’s isolation causes her inability to create the relationships. The story encompasses an unwillingness of the entire town to change and the author underlines this feeling in the protagonist. Miss Emily is really struggling with the concept of reality.
The main character is lost in the past. The townspeople think that she will move forward but she does not do anything. Emily is not able to distinguish between the reality and illusion, between the life and death. The fist time it happens after her father’s death, the townspeople visit her to offer condolence and aid. “Dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face” she denies that her father has died (Faulkner 49). “Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down and they buried her father quickly” (Faulkner 50). The townspeople are very understanding, because they know that her father has not allowed her to have contact with any of her contemporaries.
The next incident happens when she refuses to admit that she owns any taxes to the town. She does not recognize the sheriff as the sheriff, stating, “perhaps he considers him the sheriff…I have no taxes in Jefferson” (Faulkner 52). Emily refuses the present, the reality that the authorities have changed in the city. A new Mayer wants the main heroine to pay the taxes, but she refuses to pay them. Emily does not care that this is against the law. The Colonel is still alive for her, while in reality he was dead for nearly ten years.
Emily’s most abstruse confusion of reality and illusion, of life and death is her “marriage” with Homer Baron. She knows that he is going to desert and hurt her which is her greatest fear, namely of her father. She prepares everything for the “wedding”, a “wedding outline”, curtains of … rose color” and “rose-shaded lights” (Faulkner 53). She kills him and time stops, and she lives with him in their “meadow” until her own death.
In conclusion, Faulkner effectively uses the time as a mathematical progression. The reason for the main character to be caught in the past is that she suffers from the changes in her life. By denying the present, she tries to keep herself from being hurt again. To Emily, progress of time inherits changes she cannot cope with. Her inability to distinguish between reality and illusion is a result of her fear of changes and her denial of time.