In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner's details about setting and symbolism created and atmosphere that gave the readers background as to the values and beliefs of the characters, helping the reader to understand the motivations, actions and reactions of Miss Emily and the rest of the town, and changing the mood or tone in the story. In many different ways, setting and symbolism has a very deep and underlying insight to the story of "A Rose for Emily." They are both used very frequently throughout the story.
The setting in "A Rose for Emily" is Faulkner's fictitious post-civil war Jefferson, a small town in the deep south of the United States. Faulkner's use of this particular time-period or genre, is successful in giving the reader an understanding or background to the values and beliefs of the characters in the story. The town of Jefferson is a fallen legacy. The hierarchical regime of the Griersons and the class system of the time where by ordinance of the major Colonel Sartorius, a Negro women could not even walk the street without an apron, had changed into a place where even the street on which Miss Emily lived, that had once been the most select, had now been encroaching and obliterating, her house an eyesore among eyesores. Both the town and Miss Emily herself, now looked upon Miss Emily as the only remnant of that greater time. This fact gives the reader an understanding of the mind set of the "town," who is narrating Miss Emily's story to us in a form resembling a gossip circle, where stories of various townspeople are pieced together and of Miss Emily, the protagonist who lived alone except for her lone servant.
The actions of Miss Emily range from eccentric to absurd but the readers understanding of the setting that keep the story believable. Miss Emily becomes reclusive and introverted after the death of her father and the estrangement from the "Yankee"- Homer Barron.