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Would anybody like to explain the following problems that I face while I read the following sentences?

" Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor -- he who fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron -- remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. Not that Miss Emily would have accepted charity."

-- William Faulkner, "A Rose for Emily" (1930).

1) What is the function of 'Alive' in this sentence? Is it a form of reduced clause? Please give me some examples related to this kind of structure where single word stands alone at the starting of a sentence. I think this kind of words that stand alone at the end and starting point of a sentence are able to work as adjective or adverb.

2)"Miss Emily had been a tradition" ...... what does it mean? Is it possible for a woman to be a tradition?

3) "..........on the streets without an apron -- remitted her taxes."

How "remitted her taxes" is related to the other parts of this sentence? Again I wish some examples related to this. Please, if it is possible to you, give some examples.

4) " ........ the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. Not that Miss Emily would have accepted charity."

a) Is "the dispensation dating from ....... on into perpetuity." working here as appositive? If it is not, what is it?

b) Two prepositions have been used here (on into perpetuity). Why? Is it possible? Would you like to give some examples?

closed as too broad by user6951, snailcar, Jim Reynolds, user3169, pyobum Apr 26 '15 at 11:36

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    These questions are about the same passage, but they're unrelated. It would be better if you asked them separately. – snailcar Apr 25 '15 at 19:47
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  1. What is the function of 'Alive' in this sentence?

Imagine that the words "When she was" proceed "alive".

(When she was) alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care;...

Does that help? I'm not sure the technical term for this but, it's saying that she is dead now and the description of her related to when she was alive.

  1. "Miss Emily had been a tradition" ...... what does it mean? Is it possible for a woman to be a tradition?

In this case, he likely means something along the lines of "fixture", definition 4:

One that is invariably present in and long associated with a place: a journalist who became a Washington fixture.

He could also be implying that caring for or interacting with her was something that everyone did, and that action was the tradition.

  1. How "remitted her taxes" is related to the other parts of this sentence?

The section between the dashes is an appositive. It's probably noted this way because it's immediately proceeded by another appositive (the mayor). If you remove it, the sentence becomes much more clear:

Colonel Sartoris, the mayor, remitted her taxes,...

So, this means that Colonel Sartoris remitted her taxes.

  1. A - Is "the dispensation dating from ....... on into perpetuity." working here as appositive? If it is not, what is it?

Yes, it's an appositive. It's describing the taxes.

  1. B - Two prepositions have been used here (on into perpetuity). Why? Is it possible? Would you like to give some examples?

This is fine. In English we do this from time to time.

Here's some common ones:

I looked off into the distance.

Up until then, I'd had no idea it was possible.

I planned to meet her at around 9 pm.

It extends the feeling of distance much as "on into perpetuity" extends the feeling of perpetuity.

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    +1, but I'd interpret the dispensation clause as an absolute, not an appositive. – StoneyB Apr 25 '15 at 20:46
  • @StoneyB I'm not familiar with that type of clause... one of the down sides of being a native speaker... there are a lot of parts of speech that I don't know what to call and vice versa. – Catija Apr 26 '15 at 6:24
  • I only know about absolutes from Latin back in the early 60s! Here's all you need to know. – StoneyB Apr 26 '15 at 10:49

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