A Rose for Emily Historical Context

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The Reconstruction after the Civil War had a profound and humbling effect on Southern society. The South's outdated plantation economy, based so long upon slave labor, was devastated by emancipation. Northern opportunists, known as "carpetbaggers," came in droves to take advantage of the economic chaos. Some Southern aristocrats found themselves working the land alongside tenant farmers and former slaves. Faulkner came from a family that once owned a plantation. The history of his family and of the South in general inspired Faulkner's imagination.

The short stories and novels Faulkner wrote about Yoknapatawpha County combine to create an epic, mythical history of this era. David Minter, in his biography William Faulkner: His Life and Work, notes that as a teenager, Faulkner was known for being observational to the point of oddness: "Sometimes he joined the old men of Oxford on the town square...

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This section contains 599 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Rose for Emily Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
A Rose for Emily from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.