"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner greatly represents the Modernism period in Literature. “First published in Forum and collected in These 13 (1931), "A Rose for Emily" was William Faulkner's first short story to be published in a national magazine” (Padgett). The major characteristic of Modernism that was mentioned many times in this short story was the sense of “alienation, loss, and despair” (Modernism). The setting in the short story was the town of Jefferson in Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County. Faulkner created a fictional world, Yoknapatawpha, based on his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. "A Rose for Emily" and "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg are similar in that they both represent Literary Modernism. Also, "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner is similar to "A Rose for Emily" because it is about individualism. A few major characteristics of Literary Modernism that will be discussed into further detail are, “a break with traditional forms, a sense of alienation, loss, and despair, and discontinuous narratives” (Modernism).

As previously stated, the poem "A Rose for Emily" greatly fits the definition of Literary Modernism. The main characteristics of Modernism are individuality and alienation. Emily Grierson was a true individualist. She did whatever she wanted such as not pay her taxes, keeping her dead father for three days after he died, and killing her “partner” after he told her he did not want to marry. Emily also alienated herself. After her father’s death and the disappearance of her loved one, Emily was hardly seen by the townspeople. “After her father’s death she went out very little’ after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all” (Faulkner 877). The only person that ever spoke to Miss Emily was her “negro servant.” These examples from the short story make it clear that William Faulkner was a Modernism writer.

William Faulkner’s life affected his writings. According to Glencoe American Literature, “Faulkner found the formula that would place him among the greatest of American writers. He created the fictional work of Yoknapatawpha County, based on the region of northern Mississippi where he lived.” The town of Yoknapatawpha was the setting for the short story. The first sentence of the story sums the town up. It says, “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral” (Faulkner 876). I believe that this means the town is very small and everybody knows everyone. If William Faulkner had not grown up in the town of Oxford, Mississippi then he would have never been placed among the greatest American writers.

"A Rose for Emily" is similar to the poem "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg, in that they both are categorized into Modern Literature. As mentioned earlier, A Rose for Emily represented alienation and individualism. The poem "Chicago" was said to represent, “the celebration of industrial and agricultural America” (Suttie). The idea of an industrial strong America was a new idea that branched away from the traditional ideals of the time, which is a major characteristic of the Modernism period.

Another short story written by William Faulkner is "Barn Burning" The main characters are very similar in the two stories. Emily Grierson from "A Rose for Emily" and Abner Snopes from "Barn Burning" are both criminals. Emily Grierson killed her loved one, while Abner burnt down his neighbor’s barn. Another similar aspect is the theme. Both of the themes represent Modernism. They both represent individuality and alienation. Abner runs away from home and secludes himself from his family, while Emily alienates herself from the entire town. The last similarity is the style of writing. Both writings are short stories.


"A Rose for Emily" greatly represents the Literary Modernism period. The main character was secluded for many years and allienated by society. This is a characteristic of the Modernism period. This poem is very similar to "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg. Also, "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner is similar to "A Rose for Emily" because it is about individualism. William Faulkner's life affected his poems greatly. The setting in this short story is based off Faulkner's home town which is small and secluded. In all, this short story represents Modernism very well.
Citations
"Characteristics of Modernism." SOCRATES. Troy. Web. 25 Apr. 2010.
<http://socrates.troy.edu/~lworthington/eng2206/mod.htm>.


Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." Literature. Comp. Jeffery D. Wilhelm.
Columbus: Glencoe McGraw Hill, 2009. 876-883. Print.

Padgett, John B. "'A Rose for Emily'." In Anderson, George P., Judith S. Baughman,
Matthew J. Bruccoli, and Carl Rollyson, eds. Encyclopedia of American
Literature, Revised Edition: Into the Modern: 1896–1945, Volume 3. New York:
Facts On File, Inc., 2008. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc.

http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=1&iPin=EAmL134
8&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 25, 2010).

Suttie, Skye L. "'Chicago'." In Anderson, George P., Judith S. Baughman, Matthew J.
Bruccoli, and Carl Rollyson, eds. Encyclopedia of American Literature, Revised
Edition: Into the Modern: 1896–1945, Volume 3. New York: Facts On File, Inc.,
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http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=1&iPin=EAmL096
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"A Rose for Emily", written by William Faulkner, is a short story about an old lady who was very outgoing in the town and then slowly she became a mystery that everyone seemed to be afraid of and no one dared to question or pester her (Faulkner). In the end, she died and when they went into her house, they found out that she had poisoned a man that she spent much time with. The reason she killed him was most likely he didn’t want to be with her and she didn’t like that, so she poisoned him and left him laying on the bed beside her every night (Faulkner).
This short story greatly reflects modernism because it is has a loss, which was that the man, named Homer Barrron, was killed by Emily because she did not want him to leave her (Authors). This also could be destruction of family, which is another characteristic of modernism. Next, it reflects modernism because it has an ambiguous ending, where you are not quite sure why she killed Barron or how, but throughout the story it leaves clues and meanings for the reader to figure out the answers. Lastly, Emily was an “outcast” character in the town that she lived in. An outcast character in a writing is a characteristic of modernism too (Authors).
Faulkner’s life affected his writings because he grew up in Mississippi where the was racial differences going on at that time (Williams). In this short story, Emily, had a male black servant that has some significance in the poem, and he was mentioned a lot about how he would not say anything and just take care of her. During his time the blacks and whites were at a disadvantage. He also had a drinking problem during his life time, he claimed that alcohol help his writings (Williams).
This work compares to other writings because it has the plot where there is something mysterious about something or someone and it is hard to figure out in the end (William). Also, it is common in modernism writings to leave the ending of stories or poems open for readers to interpret what happened and create an ending of their own. Faulkner also had the same theme of many other writings of death and love. He wrote in a simple form of writing that had a lot of meaning behind the words that were written (William).
William Faulkner’s short story, "A Rose for Emily", Has many modernism characteristics. It also has the same themes as many of the other modernism writers and also the same writing technique and use of language and vocabulary. This story was a very sad, and well written story that let the reader find the deeper meaning and the reasoning behind the actions that Emily did. It fits along with the modernism and reflects his life throughout it.


Works Cited
Authors, Online. "Writing.Com: Understanding Modernism & Postmodernism." Writing.Com: Writers, Writing, Poetry, Creative Writing, Fiction Writing, Poetry Contests, Writing Contests. Web. 02 May 2010. <http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/943010-Understanding-Modernism--Postmodernism>.
"Bloom's Literary Reference Online." Facts On File Online Databases. Web. 03 May 2010. <http://www.fofweb.com/Lit/default.asp?ItemID=WE54>.
"Bloom's Literary Reference Online." Facts On File Online Databases. Web. 03 May 2010. <http://www.fofweb.com/Lit/default.asp?ItemID=WE54>.

Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." MoonStar. Web. 03 May 2010. <http://www.moonstar.com/~acpjr/Blackboard/Common/Stories/RoseEmily.html>.
"William Faulkner on the Web." MCSR. Web. 02 May 2010. <http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/faulkner/faulkner.html>.