“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 15 November 2016

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

“A Rose for Emily” is a short story by American author William Faulkner. It tells about an old woman named Emily Grierson lives in the town of Jefferson. The tale sets in the early nineteen hundreds, it opens with the town finding out about Emily’s death. Through the whole story, people learn of the life and times of Emily, her relationship with the town, her father and her lover. People find out the truth that Emily was hiding at the end of the story. There are many different symbolisms in the story Among all of the symbolisms , the monument, the frame, the grey hair, the house and a rose are the most important and thoughtful ones throughout the entire story.

The monument appears in the beginning of the story as the first symbolism. “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument”(A Rose For Emily). Faulkner calls Emily a “fallen monument”, it also could understand as an “idol in a niche”. It shows that how the town views her and to connect her to the idea of the old, genteel Southern ways. The modern townspeople don’t know what to do with her, and she is so closed off to them, but they respect her enough to just leave her alone. Like Faulkner states, she was like a statue — only representing a real, living person and “thus she passed from generation to generation — dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.” In her old age she is seen as a monument to the past that is never seen outside of her house. All of the respect that her father had earned died with the old men and women of the town.

Frames also seem to be symbolic in “A Rose for Emily.” One of the examples is the scene where the narrator is describing Miss Emily’s father as standing in the foreground and framed by the doorway as he held would be suitors at bay. Meanwhile Miss Emily is framed in the background. Emily’s father. Mr. Grierson is a controlling, looming presence even in death, and the community clearly sees his lasting influence over Emily. Also he references framing with reference to her crayon picture of her father in the gold frame. The whole story is framed in the idea of traditions dying out as time passes. monument” who left a part of her behind in the grey hair.

The single grey hair on the pillow is another symbolism. The old hair on the pillow signifies that Emily is a history in the town now, lying with corpses as all that she has had to be proud of is also dead. Her desperate attempt to maintain a hold upon the past has failed and she is a “fallen angel’.

The house that Emily lives in is a symbolism that shows the decay as Emily begin getting older and older. The house at one time was one of the most beautiful homes in the whole town of Jefferson. In Emily’s youth the house was always well kept. As Emily aged so did the house she lived in. The street she lives in from the symbolic of high class became the worst for the entire town. With faded paint and an unkempt yard it even began to smell at one point. The men of the old Jefferson would never tell a lady that her house smelled so they cured the smell themselves. It would seem that the house and Emily where connected in a way. Both of them had grown old and lost their brightness. The house was also looked at in the same way as Emily. Emily lost her mind and her looks. The house lost the beauty it once held due to old age. They where looked at as a monument to the past.

The most important symbolism among the all in “A Rose for Emily” is in the title itself. The rose is most often thought of as a symbol for love in the case Homer is the “rose” or love for Emily. Her father thought there was no man was good enough for her or for the Grierson family. Therefore she was never able to experience passion or the rose of love until she met Homer. The rose for Emily is hope, and passion. However, there is another meaning of rose to consider. However, the rose in the title of the story could therefore stand for Emily’s secret; that is Homer her “rose” whom she cherished, loved and kept to herself even after his body was corrupted by the decay of time.

While Faulkner had many symbolisms in “A Rose For Emily”, the symbolisms of the monument, the frame, the grey hair, the house and a rose are the most important and worthful ones throughout the entire story. Author William Faulkner truly wrote a wonderful story about an old women who loses her mind. “A Rose For Emily” uses different symbolisms to show the way in which people all grow old and decay, it tells a story of fallen angel Emily’s life.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 15 November 2016

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