Race And Social Class In William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily

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The titled short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is set in the post-civil war era in a southern town named Jefferson. The story discusses the themes of race and social class through the characters, Tobe and Miss Emily. Miss Emily Grierson is a distinguished woman in southern society while Tobe is her black manservant. Tobe stays with Miss Emily until her death and suddenly disappears afterwards because their relationship is a remnant of the race relationship in the antebellum South: master and slave. He no longer has any obligations to stay in Jefferson because his duty to Miss Emily is no longer needed since she died. The racial division in this story between black and white people which stemmed from the master-slave relationship …show more content…

His response to the smell was “‘It’s probably just a snake or a rat that nigger of hers killed in the yard.” The actual smell was from Homer Barron’s rotting corpse. The mayor and the townswomen immediately shift the blame towards Tobe, instead of thinking the smell could be caused by Miss Emily. Due to their reactions of the smell, it shows that the townspeople have a high regard of Miss Emily and think poorly of Tobe. In their eyes, Miss Emily could do nothing wrong, so it must be the black manservant’s fault. Moreover, Judge Stevens explicitly uses “nigger of hers” to describe the relationship between Miss Emily and Tobe. The word, “nigger” is a derogatory term to insult a black person to make one feel inferior. He also added that Tobe belongs to Miss Emily, much like how slaves were considered property to a master in the pre-civil war era. Tobe represents the old days in Southern society where slaves belonged to a family and was identified with them. Tobe would not want to stay in a town where people clearly think lowly of him, so it makes sense for him to leave the town full of racists when his master, Miss Emily

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