I would choose A Rose For Emily by William Faulkner and Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason to be put in a time capsule to be unearthed 100 years from now.Because A Rose For Emily was written in 1930, and Shiloh was written in 1982, I think that considering the two stories side by side would provide an interesting contrast between lifestyles of the early and late 20th century.By comparing setting and characterization in these two stories, people 100 years from now could get a feel for some of the things that have changed during the course of the 20th century and some of the things that have not. A Rose for Emily and Shiloh are both set in the South, and both take place during times of change.
In A Rose for Emily, the Grierson house was located on what had once been the most select street (80) but as the town changed the house had become crowded by garages and cotton gins (80).During the course of the story, the town of Jefferson gets its sidewalks paved, and free postal delivery is made available to all the residents. Emily, who alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door, (85) for the purpose of postal delivery, also refused to acknowledge the passage of time in any other way. The character of Leroy in Shiloh is much the same as Emily in that he fears and dislikes the changes brought by the passage of time. In the story Shiloh, Leroy notices with uneasiness that subdivisions are spreading across western Kentucky like and oil slick (69) and that the farmers who used to gather around the courthouse square on Saturday afternoons to play checkers and spit tobacco juice have gone (69). The grand and complicated (70) houses of the new subdivisions depress Leroy, and his wife Norma Jean thinks that the log house Leroy longs to build would be inappropriate here in the new subdivisions (70).
It would be interesting for people 100 years from now to compare the characters of Emily Grierson, Homer Baron, Leroy Moffitt, and Norma Jean Moffitt, and also it would also be interesting for them to compare the relationships between the two couples. Emily, who in some respects was a typical woman of her day, was dominated by the wishes of her father as a young woman, and later her treatment at the hands of Homer Baron became the main issue of her life. She had no career; the energy which a woman of the later part of the 20th century would have put into a career she put into maintaining her social standing in the community of Jefferson. Emily fears and rejects any change that she thinks might lessen her social standing in the eyes of others.
She wants to retain the past in which the Grierson family was at the top of the social ladder: her self worth is based entirely on her connection to her eminent ancestors. In contrast, Norma Jean Moffitt hopes to find fulfillment through her own actions. She takes classes in weight lifting and English composition, because her self worth is measured by her own accomplishments instead of her relationship to others. She is even willing to forfeit her relationship with her husband because she thinks Leroys goals are too different from her own. The difference in their goals is demonstrated by Leroys desire to build a log house, which is a symbol of the past and fear of change, while Norma Jean sees change in a positive way. The relationships of the two couples are quite similar, even though they are so widely separated in time. Both of the relationships consist of one member who venerates the past and sees the relationship as the most important aspect of their lives (Emily and Leroy), and one member is more self-reliant and sees change as good (Homer and Norma Jean).
By comparing A Rose for Emily and Shiloh, Americans 100 years from now would be able to note the gradual change of womens role in our society during the past 100 years. It can be seen from these two stories that there has been a shift