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The Theme of Change in Faulkner’s Books, "A Rose for Emily" and "Barn Burning"

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William Faulkner is the author of two remarkable stories, “A Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning.” This essay is going to analyze the two novels and give a comparison on the theme of change in the two novels.

The two stories “Barn Burning” and “A Rose for Emily” are symbolic of changes in a rapidly changing society. The characters from both novels seem to be adapting from changes that are as a result of industrialization. Abner’s father and Emily have a difficult time acknowledging and dealing with with the changes that have occurred in society. As a result of them refusing to accept change, it results in friction with their neighbors.

In “A Rose for Emily,” Emily Grierson the main character is symbolic of the old views. She refuses to accept that the world she has been brought up has changed, some past traditions no longer bind it. She represents the individuals in the south who refuse to accept that change has occurred. Emily in the story cannot accept that her father is dead and this causes a lot of tensions in the community. Emily refuses to accept even natural and normal things. After the demise of Colonel Sartoris, Emily refuses to accept that he is dead. Sartoris used to exempt her from paying taxes, after his death, he still refuses to pay taxes. Just like Abner in Barn Burning, she kills the individual representing a new world order and locks herself in a room. The room is timeless, as the objects in its wall remain untouched.

In conclusion, in both stories, it is the resistance of change that gives birth to the conflict. Emily and Abner’s reluctance to accommodate other peoples opinion and rigidity makes resolution of their conflicts difficult. William Faulkner uses two individuals, one who is rich and the other poor can resist change and commit murder to maintain the status quo.

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The Theme of Change in Faulkner’s Books, “A Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning”. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
“The Theme of Change in Faulkner’s Books, “A Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning”.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
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