Essays Collector

Collecting Essays from the Globe

Searching for an essay?

If you have any question you can ask below or enter what you are looking for!

A Rose For Emily Symbolism Essay

a rose for emily symbolism essay

Example #1

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is a remarkable tale of Miss Emily Grierson, whose funeral drew the attention of the entire population of Jefferson a small southern town. Miss Emily was raised in the antebellum period before the Civil War in the south. An unnamed narrator, who is considered to be “the town” or at least the collaborative voice of it, aligns key moments in Emily’s life, including the death of her father and her brief relationship with a man from the north named Homer Barron.

In short, this story explains Miss Emily’s strict and repetitive ways and the sullen curiosity that the towns people have shown toward her. Rising above the literal level of Emily’s narrative, the story basically addresses the symbolic changes in the South after the civil war. Miss Emily’s house symbolizes neglect, and improvishment in the new times in the town of Jefferson.

Prices start at $10

4.5/5
essaypro review

Prices start at $11

4.5/5
myadmissionessay review

Prices start at $9

4/5

Beginning with Miss Emily Grierson’s funeral, throughout the story Faulkner foreshadows the ending and suspenseful events in Miss Emily’s life, and Miss Emily’s other impending circumstances. “A Rose for Emily,” tells the tale of a young woman who lives and abides by her father’s strict rational. The rampant symbolism and Falkner’s descriptions of the decaying house, coincide with Miss Emily’s physical and emotional decay, and also emphasize her mental degeneration, and further illustrate the outcome of Falkner’s story. Miss Emily’s decaying house, not only lacks genuine love and care, but so douse she in her adult life, but more so during her childhood.

The pertinence of Miss Emily’s house in relation to her physical appearance is brought on by constant neglect and unappreciation. As an example, the house is situated in what was once a prominent neighborhood that has now deteriorated. Originally the house was, ” It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies”(Falkner 80) of an earlier time, now many of the townspeople see that the house has become “an eyesore among eyesores”.

Through lack of attention, the house has deteriorated from a beautiful estate to an ugly desolate shack. Similarly, Miss Emily has also become an eyesore in the following various ways. An example, she is first described as a “fallen monument” to suggest her former grandeur and her later ugliness. Miss Emily might have stayed out of the public eye after these two deaths which left her finally alone, something she was not used to.

When Miss Emily died Jefferson lost a prominent monument of the Old South. This story by Falkner contains a high rate of symbolism thoroughly distributed and revealed by shady foreshadowing. Just as the house has, Miss Emily has lost her beauty. Once she had been a beautiful woman, who later becomes obese and bloated. In this post-civil war town, the great estate and Miss Emily has suffered the toll of time and neglect.

Like the exterior, the interior of the house as well resembles Miss Emily’s increasing descent and the growing sense of sadness that accompanies such a downfall. All that is told of the inside of Miss Emily’s house is a dim hall, where a staircase is mounted into descending darkness, with the house smelling of foul odors. The combined darkness and odor of the house relate with Miss Emily in some of the following ways, with her dry and cold voice as if it were scrappy and dry from disuse just like her house.

The similarity between the inside of the house and Miss Emily extends to the mantel, where there is a portrait of her father and Miss Emily sitting there. Internally and externally, both Miss Emily’s building and her body are in a state of deterioration and tarnishment like a metallic material. An example is when she refused to let the “new guard” attach metal numbers above her door and fasten a mailbox when the town received free mail service. This reflected Miss Emily’s unyielding and stubborn persona caused by and related to her father’s strict treatment of her when she was young.

In ending, the citizen’s illustrations of both house and its occupant relate a common unattractive presence. As an example, Faulkner expresses a lot of the resident’s opinions towards Emily and her family’s history. The citizens or the narrator mention old lady Wyatt, Miss Emily’s great aunt who had gone completely mad. Most of these opinions seem to result from female citizens of the town because of their nosy and gossipy approach toward Miss Emily.

In one point that Falkner makes, the house is described to be stubborn and unrelenting, as if to ignore the surrounding decay. Similarly, Miss Emily proudly surveys her deteriorating once-grand estate. Like her father, Miss Emily possesses an unrelenting outlook towards life, and she refuses to change. Miss Emily’s father never left her alone, and when he died Homer Barron was a treat that she was never allowed to have and served as a replacement for her father’s love. Miss Emily’s stubborn attitude is definitely attributed to her father’s strict teachings.

Miss Emily lies to herself as she denies her father’s death, refuses to discuss or pay taxes, ignores town gossip about her being a fallen woman, and does not reveal to the druggist why she is purchasing arsenic. Both the house and Miss Emily become traps for a representation of the early twentieth century, to which is Homer Barron, laborer, outsider, and confirmed bachelor is a complete paradox. Homer described himself as a man who couldn’t be tied down and is always on the move.

This leaves Miss Emily in a terrible position. As the story winds down, Emily seems to prove Homer wrong. As the town ladies continue to show surmounting sympathy towards Emily, although she never hears of it verbally. She is well aware of the distant whispers that begin when her presence is near. Some of the major contributing factors to Emily’s behavior are gossip and whispers that may have been the causes of her ghastly behavior. The theme of Falkner’s story is quite simple, Miss Emily cannot accept the fact that times are changing and society is growing and changing with the times.

As this dilemma ensues she isolates herself from civilization, using her butler to run her errands so she doesn’t have to talk much. The setting of Falkne’s story is highly essential because it defines Miss Emily’s tight grasp of antebellum ways and unchanging demeanor. Just as the house seems to reject progress and updating, so does Miss Emily, until both of them become decaying symbols of their dying generation.

Through descriptions of the house resemble descriptions of Miss Emily Grierson, “A Rose for Emily” emphasizes the beauty and elegance can become distorted through neglect and lack of love and affection. As the house deteriorates for forty years until it becomes ugly and unappealing, Miss Emily’s physical appearance and emotional well-being decay in the same way.

 

Example #2

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a story that addresses the symbolic changes in the South after the civil war. Miss Emily’s house symbolizes neglect and poverty of the new times in the town of Jefferson. The rampant symbolism and Faulkner’s descriptions of the decaying house, coincide with Miss Emily’s physical and emotional decay, and also emphasize her mental degeneration, and further illustrate the outcome of Faulkner’s story.

Miss Emily’s decaying house, not only lacks genuine love and care, but so does she in her adult life, but more so during her childhood. The pertinence of Miss Emily’s house in relation to her physical appearance is brought on by constant neglect and under-appreciation. The house is situated in what was once a prominent neighborhood that has now deteriorated.

The house was “a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies” of an earlier time, now many of the townspeople see that the house has become “an eyesore among eyesores”. Through lack of attention, the house has deteriorated from a beautiful estate to an ugly desolate shack.

Similarly, Miss Emily has also become an eyesore in the following various ways. She is first described as a “fallen monument” to suggest her former grandeur and her later ugliness. This story by Faulkner contains a high rate of symbolism thoroughly distributed and revealed by shady foreshadowing. Just as the house has, Miss Emily has lost her beauty. Once she had been a beautiful woman, who later becomes obese and bloated. In this post-civil war town, the great estate and Miss Emily has suffered the toll of time and neglect.

Like the exterior, the interior of the house as well resembles Miss Emily’s increasing decent and the growing sense of sadness that accompanies such a downfall. All that is told of the inside of Miss Emily’s house is a dim hall, where a staircase is mounted into descending darkness, with the house smelling of foul odors. The combined darkness and odor of the house relate to Miss Emily with her dry and cold voice as if it were scrappy and dry from disuse just like her house.

The similarity between the inside of the house and Miss Emily extends to the mantel, where there is a portrait of her father and Miss Emily sitting there. Internally and externally, both Miss Emily’s building and her body are in a state of deterioration and are tarnished like a metallic material. The setting of Faulkner’s story is highly essential because it defines Miss Emily’s tight grasp of antebellum ways and unchanging demeanor.

Just as the house seems to reject progress and updating, so does Miss Emily, until both of them become decaying symbols of their dying generation. Though descriptions of the house resemble descriptions of Miss Emily Grierson, “A Rose for Emily” emphasizes that beauty and elegance can become distorted through neglect and lack of love and affection. As the house deteriorates for forty years until it becomes ugly and unappealing, Miss Emily’s physical appearance and emotional well-being decay in the same way.

 

Example #3

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” draws a vivid picture of the south of the United States at the turn of the century. It begins with the narrator mentioning the funeral of the eponymous Miss Emily. Faulkner’s style in revealing the consequences of Emily Grierson’s life and the shocking revelations of her death is very interesting. The narrative structure of the piece is interesting in that it does not follow a typical chronological order.

The details of the story are revealed slowly by Faulkner as he allows the sense of suspicion to grow before revealing the murder of the Homer Barron by Emily. The narrator begins his chronology with the funereal of Emily. The narrator is not named and whilst seeming omniscient in his knowledge of events is clearly identified as a member of the community which surrounds Emily.

The use of the pronoun “we” when referring to the townsfolk, as in: “We did not say she is crazy then” The narrator moves from the funeral back in time to the occasion when the City Authorities attempt to revoke her tax-exempt status. The narrative then flows backward and forwards through time revealing significant details of Emily’s life and preparing the reader for the shock of Homer’s murder. The narrative is also split into five-section, this allows for shifts in time and reveals images of Emily at various stages of her life.

The fact that Emily is tax-exempt is an example of the authority she possesses over the townsfolk even though she is distant from them. Faulkner uses language that creates the view of Emily of an institution. As early as the story’s second line, Emily is described as a “fallen monument”. She is also described in paragraph three as “… a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation in the town” She seems to be the product of an earlier era and surrounds herself with reminders of the past.

After the death of her father, his portrait is given prominence in her house, and even rests above her coffin. The image of Emily trying to hold back the encroachment of new generations is shown in the description of her house which is built in the style of the 1870s despite being surrounded by new buildings. Faulkner writes: “Only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps” (ARE pg. 427 HIF) When Faulkner describes Emily as an old woman, he mentions a gold watch she wears around her neck.

The watch descends so low on the chain it is obscured by her belt. Although the watch is unseen its constant ticking is audible: “…they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain” (ARE pg. 427 HIF) This serves as a symbol of Emily’s reluctance to observe the passing of time as generations pass by, and the world changes. Emily seems to cling to a bygone era when her family was given prominence. The authority to which I have referred, which Emily exerts over the townsfolk seems to be the residue of the time when her family had genuine power.

This authority is never more evident than on the occasion when Emily buys arsenic from the druggist. It takes very few words for her to persuade him to sell her arsenic. He is prepared to ignore laws to satisfy Emily. This serves as a precursor to the discovery of her suitor Homer Barron’s body in her bed some 40 years after his disappearance. The murder of Barron and his position in a marital bed is the ultimate attempt by Emily to halt the onslaught of time, and the dangers it brings.

Another event that foreshadows the demise of Homer is the death of Emily’s father. Emily’s reluctance to give up the body of her father mirrors the death of Homer. Her refusal to accept the reality of his death is another example of Emily’s fear of the passage of time. Throughout the piece, Faulkner offers the reader images of Decay as generations succeed each other. Both Emily and her house are shown as decayed as if the great lie that has lain undiscovered in her bed has infected the house.

Even the duplicitous Gardener’s voice is described as having:- “… grown harsh and rusty, as if from disuse.” It is like an old disused mechanism which is decayed with age. These images of decay reach their pinnacle with the gruesome corpse of Homer dressed for bed. Faulkner’s narrative uses the story of Emily Grierson to examine the working of the local community. The townsfolk seem to obey a sort of hierarchy within which Emily is highly placed. Both the city authorities and the minister are shown to be subservient to her at different times in the story.

Emily is identified as an object of furious gossip, her courtship of Homer being of considerable interest to the townspeople. It is as if her story were a legend passed on through generations. This corresponds with the chronological shift as the reader is guided to different parts of Emily’s life. The details of the legend are collected in a series of incidents that build a picture of the events surrounding Homer’s death. In many ways the townsfolk are duplicitous in the death, they even surround her house with lime to counteract the smell, which hindsight tells us was the smell of Homer’s rotting corpse.

It is interesting to note that lime is often poured into graves before a body is buried. In many respects, Emily’s story characterizes the whole of southern society at the time. Frequently Faulkner makes reference to the Civil war and the profound effect it had on southern society is alluded to at points in the text. I feel it is significant that Homer Barron is described as a “Yankee” from the north which defeated the south.

It is another example of Emily’s belief that she is better than the society in which she inhabits. In many ways, the story reveals a form of corruption under the exterior of southern life. He reveals a world of hushed voices and shadows in which Emily’s actions have always been scrutinized. The most striking section of the piece is section five, in which Emily’s terrible secret is revealed. The description of the scene in Homer’s ‘tomb’ serves not only to shock but also to reveal more of Emily’s character.

In this section, Faulkner talks of the way in which the old seem to regard the past: “…for whom the past is not a diminishing road but … a huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches divided from them now by the narrow bottleneck of the most recent decade of years.” The scene of decay in Homer’s “tomb” is a symbol of the folly of Emily’s refusal to move on. The opening of the room reveals a stagnant world of decay which in many respects mirrors the decaying way of life at this time.

I found “A Rose for Emily” to be a rewarding piece. I found the manner in which it is written and its confused chronology add to its menace and give it the characteristics of a well-told myth. The way in which Faulkner represents the way in which time destroys is particularly effective. He seems to use the events of the story to place the whole of southern society under the microscope.

 

Example #4

This essay analyzes “A Rose for Emily”, its symbolism, main themes, messages, and tone. As the plot of the southern gothic story unfolds, the author uses certain symbols to show us the tragedy of human perishability.

The end of the Civil War in 1865 brought many changes to the states of the South. The Old South, with its agrarian-based economy, and its residents were facing a dilemma. Should they adapt to these changes or try to continue with their social order and economy model? This time of change is when the story takes place. Jefferson, Mississippi, is the setting of “A Rose for Emily”. Almost all of the townspeople there have decided to adapt to the changes except for one resident Emily Grierson, who dislikes the New South and refuses to get used to the new way of life.

Emily’s refusal to accept this new reality means that she clings to the social conventions which no longer exist, isolating herself from both the townspeople of Jefferson and their new lifestyle. This isolation reflects the main theme of “A Rose for Emily” – that is the necessity to adapt to changes brought upon us.

From my point of view, Emily represents the reluctance to changes typical for some parts of the American society of that time. W.Faulkner effectively uses the events surrounding the main character to emphasize his message of adaptation that is necessary for us all and additionally introduces some vivid symbols in “A Rose for Emily” to describe her motivations and emotions behind her actions.

Stability and resistance to change are the main features of Ms. Grierson’s character that develop during her younger years and that define her attitudes during her whole life. The only leaders Emily recognizes are the once-and-forever established authorities of her father and Colonel Sartoris.

Even after their death, Emily continues to insist on their existence. She does not recognize the fact that her father is not alive any longer, and she refers to the tax committee to the long-deceased Colonel Sartoris, who once relieved her of city taxes (Faulkner). Living in the past, Emily denies the present and the innovations it brings. Her mansion is the only building in the city that does not have “the metal numbers above her door and … a mailbox” (Faulkner).

Moreover, it is the only old house in the neighborhood that has become obliterated and turned into “an eyesore among eyesores,” a ridiculous monument to the past colonial grandeur. It is noteworthy, however, that Miss Grierson’s commitment to the old ideals is not accidental and is dictated by the conditions of her life and upbringing.

Raised in arrogance to the rest of the society, Emily Grierson transfers it to every aspect of her life. She ignores the demands to pay taxes, the glances at her butler, as well as the gossip of her entering a relationship with a stranger. Miss Grierson preserves her initial traditions and way of life by distancing herself from the rest of the townspeople.

As a result of her secluded life, there emerges a paradox: on the one hand, Emily Grierson refuses to accept the new lifestyle. On the other hand, she adapts to the new life conditions while dissociating herself from the Jefferson society. After some attempts to appear in public with her suitor or to give china-painting lessons, Emily chooses a secluded lifestyle and locks herself up in her house.

She becomes a living symbol of Jefferson, “motionless as … an idol” and barely ever speaking to anybody (Faulkner). Despite all the effort to save her lifestyle intact, Emily fails in her undertaking since she is mortal as any living being, and all the symbols of her past that surround her in daily life are equally perishable.

The opposition between Miss Grierson’s desire for stability and the inexorable course of history frames up the fundamental conflict of “A Rose for Emily”. Symbolism is used by the author to immerse the reader in this conflict. . To emphasize Emily’s belonging to the Pre-Civil War South, William Faulkner surrounds her with objects that represent that past.

The first and foremost symbol of Miss Grierson’s époque is the place she lives in: “a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies” situated in the once “most select street” (Faulkner). The splendor of the mansion was almost unsurpassed in its better days, with endless fashionable objects filling its rooms. However, the once-grand place is subject to the inexorable course of time and shows visible signs of decay.

One of the most powerful symbols in “A Rose for Emily” is the image of dust that fills the house: not only does dust rise from the old leather furniture when visitors sit on it, but it also defines the smell of the house and its very atmosphere (Faulkner).

Symbolic of the memories and regrets, the dust appears throughout the whole story, acquiring a special significance in the scenes of Miss Emily’s death and the discovery of her suitor’s corpse in the house. In the short story, dust throws a dense veil concealing the mysteries of the Griersons family.

Faulkner employs bitter irony to describe the pitiful state of the Griersons’ mansion. Its only neighbors are now not the estates of the same grandeur but simple “cotton wagons and gasoline pumps” ― symbolic of new life and new values — indifferent to the majestic culture of the old society. This miserable decay prompts an idea that the whole past splendor was not due to the owners themselves but due to the everyday slave labor, which, once eliminated, left the house to sink into the past.

What does Homer symbolize in A Rose for Emily? The character of the Negro butler reminds of the Pre-Civil War époque and its slaveholding system that supported the existence of the wealthy white upper class. Faulkner introduces this image to enhance the museum-like state of the Griersons’ mansion. The old Negro butler works hard for the Griersons throughout his life and performs a range of entirely unnecessary tasks. He shows the visitors in and out of the house and then opens the blinds to let some light into the house.

Although Emily could have easily coped with those tasks herself, she prefers to keep the Negro butler as a way of emphasizing her high social status the way it was appropriate in her Pre-Civil War youth. Along with performing purely formal duties, the Negro butler constantly reappears with a market basket, which suggests that he is also in charge of the practical aspects of Miss Grierson’s household.

A notable occurrence in this respect is the complaint of the city dwellers concerning the peculiar smell from the Griersons’ mansion: “Just as if a man — any man — could keep a kitchen properly,” the ladies said; so they were not surprised when the smell developed” (Faulkner). But even though a woman would be more suitable for running the house, Miss Grierson would not replace the Negro butler who is as much of a tradition in her life as she is in the life of the whole city.

On no occasion can he leave his owner, and therefore he grows gray and “doddering” and disappears from the house only with Miss Grierson’s death (Faulkner). Symbolic of Miss Grierson’s commitment to past ideals, the Negro butler is the part of her mystery, which he never reveals.

To further emphasize Miss Grierson’s striking adherence to the values of the Pre-Civil War époque, William Faulkner introduces the reader to the enormous influence of her father. He oppressed and dominated her when he was alive. He still spreads his authority on her life even after he passes away.

After his death (which Emily stubbornly refuses to admit), his crayon portrait is one of the main focal points in the parlor: “On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily’s father” as if overseeing and controlling all the events (Faulkner). The dominance of Miss Emily’s father over her is clearly shown in the way they are described. “Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip” (Faulkner).

Therefore, it is not accidental that she chooses her only suitor according to his looks that coincide with the way the Griersons are depicted, “his hat cocked and a cigar in his teeth, reins and whip in a yellow glove “(Faulkner). This action serves as an evidence of how arrogant the Griersons’ attitude to the surrounding society is and how eager Miss Grierson is to show the distance between herself and the community if she makes such a risky choice of a partner. Thus, additional emphasis is placed on the abyss dividing Miss Grierson and the Jefferson townsmen, the past and the present.

The dramatic changes take place without Miss Grierson: she remains the same self-willed woman throughout the whole story. However, despite the apparent stability in Miss Grierson’s character, an individual evolution can be traced in her through the symbolic image of her hair.

The first change in her hairstyle comes after her father’s death: “her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl” (Faulkner). By cutting her hair and thus recovering her youthful looks, Miss Grierson probably attempts to emphasize her girlish nature and her devotedness to her father. Over time, she grows older, and her hair becomes gray. This decay reflects the overall decay of the mansion and thus of the ideals that its inhabitants cherish. It becomes one of the most vivid symbols in “A Rose for Emily”.

Besides, the “long strand of iron-gray hair” found at the dead body of Miss Grierson’s suitor emphasizes the fact that although her body is decayed, her spirit remains strong enough to insist on her way of behavior (Faulkner). Thus a discrepancy comes to the fore between the aspirations of happiness and the inevitability of withering away with the time. In “A Rose for Emily,” the theme of adapting to the changing environment is developed through the character of Miss Grierson and her reluctance to changes.

In summary, the evolution can still be traced through the symbolic images of her mansion, her Negro butler, and her hair. Those images demonstrate that although Miss Grierson wishes to stick to the past, it is impossible due to the natural processes of decay and lavishing. As shown in this essay, symbolism in “A Rose for Emily” reveals the tragedy of human perishability.

 

Example #5

Symbolism in literature is using an object to portray a different, deeper meaning in a story. Symbols represent ideas or qualities that the author has maneuvered into his or her story that has meaning. There can be multiple symbols in a story or just one. It is up to the reader to interpret the meaning of the symbols and their significance to the story.

While reading a story, symbols may not become clear until the very end, once the climax is over, and the falling action is covered. In William Faulkner’s, “A Rose for Emily,” there are multiple examples of symbolism that occur throughout the story. The symbolism that “A Rose for Emily” displays is Miss Emily’s taxes that represent death. First is the death of her father.

The lime that is sprinkled around Miss Emily’s house is another symbol in the story. Lime is a white powder that is used to cover the smell of decomposing bodies. The townspeople go to Miss Emily’s house to sprinkle lime in her yard when there is a complaint about the awful smell emanating from her house. The smell of Homer’s rotting corpse eventually stops permeating into the streets, but it is thought that the smell may have become normal to the town.

The lime symbolizes a weary attempt to hide information. It is a cover-up that symbolizes how the town hides the secrets of that generation (Shmoop 5). Arsenic is a symbol of hiding something that smells, just like lime. When arsenic is used to kill a rat, it creates a stench. The arsenic that Miss Emily uses on Homer Barron’s body creates a smell that the townspeople want to get rid of with lime. On Miss Emily’s package, the cashier writes “For rats.”

“Faulkner himself claims that Homer was probably not a nice guy. If Homer is planning to break a promise to marry Emily… she probably considers him a rat” (Shmoop 5). This information leads us to believe that Faulkner approves of the poisoning of Homer Barron (Shmoop 5). In the story, there is no mention of an actual rose, yet the story title is “A Rose for Emily.” Another symbol is the rose.

 

Example #6

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a story that addresses the symbolic changes in the South after the civil war. Miss Emily’s house symbolizes neglect and poverty of the new times in the town of Jefferson. The rampant symbolism and Faulkner’s descriptions of the decaying house, coincide with Miss Emily’s physical and emotional decay, and also emphasize her mental degeneration, and further illustrate the outcome of Faulkner’s story.

Miss Emily’s decaying house, not only lacks genuine love and care, but so does she in her adult life, but more so during her childhood. The pertinence of Miss Emily’s house in relation to her physical appearance is brought on by constant neglect and under-appreciation. The house is situated in what was once a prominent neighborhood that has now deteriorated.

The house was “a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies” of an earlier time, now many of the townspeople see that the house has become “an eyesore among eyesores”. Through lack of attention, the house has deteriorated from a beautiful estate to an ugly desolate shack. Similarly, Miss Emily has also become an eyesore in the following various ways.

She is first described as a “fallen monument” to suggest her former grandeur and her later ugliness. This story by Faulkner contains a high rate of symbolism thoroughly distributed and revealed by shady foreshadowing. Just as the house has, Miss Emily has lost her beauty.

Once she had been a beautiful woman, who later becomes obese and bloated. In this post-civil war town, the great estate and Miss Emily has suffered the toll of time and neglect. Like the exterior, the interior of the house as well resembles Miss Emily’s increasing descent and the growing sense of sadness that accompanies such a downfall.

 

Example #7

The Symbolism in “A Rose for Emily” “I want the best you have… I want arsenic. ” Emily was purchasing rat poison. Did she really have rats? Or did she poison her husband Homer Barron? William Faulkner used a few ciphers in “A Rose for Emily” to get his readers to explore their imagination. It is an extremely suspenseful, on the edge of your seat, story with a shocking ending. It is a short story about an old woman who loses her father and eventually her husband; she is the talk of the town and after she dies, everyone realizes exactly how insane she was.

Faulkner uses many symbols that have meanings of their own and also for something else. “A Rose for Emily” has numerous symbols. Some more important than others, a minor symbol would include her father’s whip. It symbolizes his control and dominance over her. It was as if he was fighting off all the men in Emily’s life with his whip. It may also suggest that he is incredibly strict with her and didn’t want her to have much of social life. When Emily’s dad died, Emily was devastated; she did not want to leave his body. Shortly after, Emily took comfort in a man named Homer Barron.

The death of Emily’s father left her miserable, when Homer left town for a few days, she thought she might lose him like she did her father. When he returned home, everything went downhill. “And that was the last we saw of Homer Barron and of Miss. Emily for some time. ” A slightly more important symbol would be the old, creepy house where Miss. Emily lived. The house symbolized a mystery; the whole town thought Miss. Emily was bizarre and that house just added to their suspicion. The house had a distinct smell. It was a kind of rotting smell, as if something, or maybe someone, had died in there and was never disposed of properly.

It got so bad the mayor, along with a couple of other residents of the town, snuck onto the property and put deodorizer on her front lawn. After Emily’s death, the townspeople were finally able to explore the house. What they found was astonishing. Everything seemed somewhat normal up until they got to the locked door. The men broke it down and found a room that looked as if to be prepared for a wedding covered completely with an inch or two of dust. When they turned around, they found a decomposing body! The last symbol was definitely the most important.

Next to the body was a long gray hair. To some it might not mean anything; but to other intellectual readers, it might have great importance. If you look deeper into it, Emily had long gray hair, she was tremendously insane, and bought rat poison that would “kill anything up to an elephant. ” Could she have killed Homer? Could that long gray hair symbolize Emily going up to the room at night and cuddling up with Homer’s dead body? Faulkner leaves it up to us to decide. He uses the power of symbolism to test our mind and really make us think about what we are reading.

The symbols in this story make it what it is, a fine piece of literature. Faulkner really puts the power of symbolism to work in “A Rose for Emily. ” In this story, through the use of symbolism, Emily is exposed as the true crazy person that Faulkner met to portray her as. If you put your mind to work, Emily may have used arsenic to murder her husband, kept his body locked up in a barricaded room, and slept with his rotting corpse night after night. Symbolism can make or break a story; in this case, it made “A Rose for Emily” great. It constantly tests the mind and keeps the reader guessing what will happen next.

 

Example #8

Environmental factors play a major role in how a person grows and develops. These circumstances can either positively or negatively affect someone. Emily Grierson’s inability to change is a perfect example of what may happen if an individual is brought up in a toxic environment. In the story “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, the narrator gives clues to the reader that Miss Emily was brought up in an environment that resulted in her inability to recognize the change.

The first instance that portrays this fact is when members of the younger generation pay Miss Emily a visit. The young men saw Miss Emily as “A small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt…Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain.” (Pg. 34) The watch hidden inside her belt symbolizes that she is running out of time.

Life has just been passing her by without her realizing it. The sound of the invisible ticking highlights that she is unable to acknowledge time while everyone else can. Miss Emily also “Looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water. (Pg. 34) This characterizes her as someone drowning in time. She is trapped with no control over herself and her surroundings.

Another example of Miss Emily not being able to recognize change is her reaction to the death of her father. “After his death, all the ladies prepared to call the house and offer condolence…Miss Emily met them at the door…with no trace of grief on her face…She told them that her father was not dead…She did that for three days.” (Pg.36) She uses denial as a coping mechanism. Her father’s death was the first time she encountered change.

People began to see her as someone on their level. She quickly went from being an important person with a high social status to having absolutely nothing. Since her father chased away all her potential suitors, she was now alone, desperate, and with no income. The reality of the situation was too much for Miss Emily to mentally handle. Her being in denial was the only way in preventing her insanity. She had no choice but to “cling to that in which that robbed her.” (Pg. 36) If it were not for the ministers and doctors pursuing her to give them the corpse, Mr. Grierson’s body would have never left the house.

The last and most disturbing instance is what was found in Miss Emily’s house after her death. “The man himself lay in bed…looking down at the profound and fleshless grin…the body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace…what was left of him, rotted…in the second pillow…we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.” (Pg. 39-40) Miss Emily has been practicing necrophilia with the corpse of Homer Barron for many years.

Homer Barron was Miss Emily’s first and only love interest. He contrasts greatly with her father; who was described as cruel and controlling. These characteristics show that he was not a loving or supportive father. Shortly after meeting Barron, Miss Emily is portrayed by the town as “Fallen” (Pg. 37) This tells the reader that she had been deflowered by Barron. Having sex with him gave her newly discovered feelings of love and intimacy. Since she did not get past the trauma of her father’s death, Miss Emily felt that the only way to keep Barron by her side was to kill him.

She could continue experiencing affection and closeness with no worries. Necrophiliacs are typically controlling to the point that they cannot sustain a relationship with a living person. Miss Emily became necrophilia because of her need for control. Due to her feeling trapped by her father and time, the only instance she felt any power is when she was with Barron’s corpse.

He would have eventually left her anyway. When first seeing Homer Barron, he was building the first sidewalk in town. This symbolizes modernization and development; qualities that strongly differ from Miss Emily’s stagnation. He was also portrayed as “not a marrying man.” (Pg. 37) Barron seemed to have no intention of marrying her and only showed willingness when Miss Emily’s cousins pressured him.

In the story “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, the narrator gives clues to the reader that Miss Emily was brought up in an environment that resulted in her inability to recognize the change. These clues consisted of the symbolism of the watch, Miss Emily’s reaction to her father’s death, and the practice of necrophilia. Miss Emily was mentally incapable of overcoming the trauma of her past. Life is all about healing and growing to be the best version of one’s self. If generativity does not occur, then a person will forever feel trapped and helpless; just like Emily Grierson.

 

Example #9

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner describes the peculiar life of Miss Emily, an unmarried and allegedly wealthy woman who is the talk of the town of Jefferson. Faulkner’s use of particular literary devices can be observed throughout the entire story. He carefully uses each literary device to develop the theme in a way that is not immediately obvious to the average reader. This exceptionally clever use of literary devices is what makes

“A Rose for Emily” such a brilliant and famed story in the world of literature. Some of the most interesting literary devices that Faulkner weaves into “A Rose for Emily” are setting, symbolism, and imagery, which he uses to emphasize a theme based around the progression of time.

Faulkner cunningly uses the setting of the story to place an emphasis on the theme of time. The beginning of the story, set in an American town during the late 1800s to early 1900s, appears to be established around the mystery and scrutiny of Miss Emily’s home, which is where a great deal of the stories takes place.

The house, as described by the narrator, is a “big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the lightsome of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street” (Faulkner 148). From this description, it is apparent that Miss Emily’s home is of an older style and has been standing for a substantial amount of time, which signifies the old age of Miss Emily and her time spent in the town.

The narrator continues, stating that “garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting it’s stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and gasoline pumps – an eyesore among eyesores” (Faulkner 148).

This statement reveals to the reader that Miss Emily’s home has remained standing throughout times of change and development and is now surrounded by more modern homes and establishments. The disapproving tone of the narrator serves as a suggestion that the decayed home of Miss Emily is an undesirable reminder of the past, which emphasizes Faulkner’s theme of time.

The house also reflects that Miss Emily herself has not adapted to the changes that have occurred in Jefferson and have been engulfed by the phenomenon that is time. Faulkner uses a great deal of symbolism within his work. It can even be said that the house itself doubles as the setting and a symbol because of the way it represents the past. However, some of the other symbolic objects within the story are smaller and less obvious than Miss Emily’s home. For example, it is stated Miss Emily wore a long gold chain around her neck with an “invisible” watch at the end (Faulkner 149).

Any kind of watch or clock is an obvious representation of time. But this watch, which was hidden underneath her belt, continuously ticking, is immensely symbolic of time and one of its most unpleasant effects: death. The watch is purposely placed underneath her clothing with each tick representing the heartbeat of Miss Emily. As time progresses, both the watch and Miss Emily’s heart will stop. The fact that the watch is hidden symbolizes that death is not always foreseen.

Another symbol Faulkner uses to symbolize the passing of time is dust. At the end of the story, Faulkner uses dust to show the amount of time that had passed between Miss Emily’s creation of a creepy bridal shrine and the discovery of Homer Barron’s corpse. “Among them lay a collar and tie, as if they had just been removed, which, lifted, left upon the surface a pale crescent in the dust,” states the narrator (Faulkner 156).

Faulkner does not use dust to provide description only. Although the collar and tie appear to have just been removed, the dust is there to symbolize that the collar and tie were actually removed long ago. The dust is truly a symbol of time and aging as it leaves its mark on all of the stationery items within Miss Emily’s home. Faulkner uses imagery abundantly throughout his piece.

One of the cleverest uses of imagery that Faulkner uses to portray time is his routine use of the color gray. The color gray is typically associated with aging, and Faulkner uses it to embody just that. He shows the reader how time has progressed throughout the story by describing the color of Miss Emily’s hair in different shades of gray.

During the flashback, the narrator states, “When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray” (Faulkner 154). Then the narrator states, “During the next few years, it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt-iron gray…” (Faulkner 154).

Lastly, the narrator describes Miss Emily’s hair as remaining “that vigorous iron-gray, like the hair of an active man” (Faulkner 154). Faulkner even describes the aging of Miss Emily’s servant, stating “Daily, monthly, yearly, we watched the Negro grow grayer and more stooped, going in and out with the market basket” (Faulkner 155).

The way Faulkner persistently and liberally uses the color gray in this portion of the text allows the reader’s mind to create images of Miss Emily’s servant and herself becoming more and more aged, thus creating an illusion of the passage of time. Similar to the use of dust, the color gray seems like it is merely used for description. However, Faulkner carefully chose to use this color within his story in order to perpetuate the theme of time. Faulkner uses the setting of

“A Rose for Emily” as well as symbolism and imagery to portray a theme of time progression. Throughout the story, Faulkner uses different entities such as the house, the watch, dust, and the color gray to creatively create an illusion of the passing of time. Each item uniquely represents some sort of element of time, whether it is change, death, or aging.

Ultimately, Faulkner’s use of such literary devices is the most fascinating part of his work. Upon close examination, the reader is able to interpret every single line of “A Rose for Emily” in a way that is only possible because of Faulkner’s ingenious writing style.

 

Example #10 – interesting ideas

“A Rose for Emily” is a short story by American author William Faulkner first published in the April 30, 1930 issue of Forum. This story takes place in Faulkner’s fictional city, Jefferson, in his fictional county of Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. It was Faulkner’s first short story published in a national magazine.

Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily” is told from the viewpoint of the town of Jefferson, Mississippi, where the Grierson family was the closest thing to the true aristocracy. The story presents a powerful argument that privilege can sometimes be a prison. To the outside world, it might have appeared that Miss Emily Grierson grew up in the lap of luxury.

However, it was a lonely existence, for her father ruled Emily’s life with an iron fist, turning away every suitor the young girl had; no one was good enough for his daughter. Not surprisingly, the first thing Emily did after her father’s death was to find a companion, and a very unlikely one at that — a Yankee day laborer named Homer Barron. She went out driving with Homer in a flashy yellow-wheeled buggy and bought him extremely personal articles — a silver toilet set, a nightshirt.

Today our first assumption would be that he was her lover, but this was the small-town South, and another time. The townspeople assumed she had gotten married — secretly, of course, because under the circumstances a big society wedding would be in bad taste. For a while, Emily convinced herself that the townspeople still respected her. After all, she never really intended Homer to supplant her father in the eyes of the town.

He couldn’t have, because he was neither a Son of the South nor a pillar of the community; Homer’s role was simply that of a consort, filling a vacancy at Emily’s side. It was through Emily’s arrogance that permitted the purchase of arsenic. This was an act of liberation from her father’s restrictions. It then, allowed her to act as she wanted in retrieving what was bereft as a result of her father’s dominance (when he was alive) (i.e. “Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground”).

The logical conclusion — that Emily had murdered her lover — could not be incorporated into the myth that the townspeople had constructed around her. It was unspeakable, so no one spoke of it. Forty years later, after Emily died, the townspeople cautiously entered the house that few had visited since the death of Mr. Grierson, apart from those grandchildren of Colonel Sartoris’ china painting lessons.

There they were moved, but not really surprised, to find a decomposed skeletal body on a sumptuous bed in a locked room, and Emily’s iron-gray hair lying on the pillow beside his head. In “A Rose for Emily,” Faulkner shows the tragedy that results from our adherence to social roles that constrain, rather than liberate, our true selves.


What is the easiest topic to write about in A Rose For Emily?

I have to write an essay for English on one of the following: Point of view, symbolism, foreshadowing or, characterization. I only have one day to do it and it also must be 5 paragraphs, so I want to pick the one that is going to give me the most to write about.

I have pretty much ruled out point of view because I am just not good at that, and I know that there is a lot of symbolism in this story to write about, which is what I was going to pick to write about until I thought that I don’t know much about “characterization, or how to write about it? So what would be the best to write about?

Answer. I think symbolism would be easy since, to some extent, you can just use your interpretation to describe why something symbolizes something. so try that. like the rose symbolizes the blood that does etc… and you can go on like that with other things.

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
A Rose For Emily Symbolism Essay. (2020, Oct 16). Retrieved December 1, 2020, from https://essayscollector.com/examples/a-rose-for-emily-symbolism-essay/



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error:Content is protected !!