When I think of dust, I think of old materials or places that have not been used for a long time. In “A Rose for Emily”, Faulkner did a great job using dust as a symbolism for aging. In the beginning of the story, Miss Emily’s house was described as once beautiful: “It was a big, squarish house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street” (787). Although the house was once beautiful, as time goes by, the house becomes old and loses its beauty: “…But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps- an eyesore among eyesores” (787). Later, when the Aldermen come to the house to receive Miss Emily’s tax payment, they describe the aged house from the inside: “It smelled of dust and disuse- a close, dank smell” (788)....
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...kner did this on purpose and ensured dust was in the presence of death.
In conclusion, dust was an important element throughout the story that had secret symbolism behind it. As the town and neighborhood became more modern, Miss Emily’s house remained unchanged and aged, setting itself apart from the rest of the town. As Miss Emily would recluse herself from society, her house became filled with dust. Dust was always present in the occurrence of death. The reader has to read over the story a few times to realize how often dust appeared. After reading, the reader must dig deep and think of what the true meaning of the dust was for each scene. I believe Faulkner did a great job using dust as symbolism in this story.
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings. 2nd
ed. New York: Norton, 2010. 787-796. Print.
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