In a Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, we meet a young woman that is surrounded by death. As the story progresses we find more and more death and decay throughout Emily’s life. This leads to the theme of Death and Dying. Through-out the short story the theme of Death and Dying is represented through many symbols. These symbols include dust, the house and Emily herself. This essay will examine how each of these symbols represent Death and Dying.
Faulkner uses Emily’s house to symbolize Emily living a life in stasis. Emily’s home is similar to a time capsule, a place forever unchanging and untouched by time. Within her time capsule, Emily can live in a timeless, unchanging world where death does not exist. Death is strategically used to as a symbol for change throughout the story from the start of the story at Emily’s funerals to the end when the townspeople discover Homer Barron’s body in the upstairs bedroom. Death was the only change Emily couldn’t fight, but that didn’t stop her from accepting its ever-present presence in her life. They first become aware of this when Emily initially refuses to admit the death of her over-bearing father. Stating multiple times to the townspeople who came to console her that her father was not dead. In the end, the reader gets a final and a disturbing understanding of Emily’s denial of death with the skeletal body of Emily’s possible suitor Homer Barron laying on a bed, dressed in a suit, and placed beside him was a single strand of Miss Emily’s hair. Lastly, Emily herself is the living embodiment of tradition. Emily is referred to as a monument in the first paragraph, also, in paragraph three the narrator states, “Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town.” William Faulkner didn’t just use Emily as a symbol of tradition, he also used her character illustrate the constant struggle between those of tradition and those of
In the book Literature by Edgar V Roberts, Faulkner begins the story “A Rose for Emily” with an extremely long sentence which shows the communities reaction to death and immediately displays a scene through gender differences:
In William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a short unpleasant story. Everybody faces difficult hardships, relationships, and family matters, such as life and death of loved ones. While going through those difficult times people end up having a difficult time by letting go of loved ones. After reading “A Rose for Emily”, Miss Emily Grierson had to experience difficult times in her life. She could not date anybody, her father passed away, she met a soon to be great guy, poisoned him, and end up being alone.
The day after Mr. Grierson’s death, the women of the town call on Emily to offer their condolences. Meeting them at the door, Emily would continue to say that her father was not dead; she continues to keep this up for three days. She finally, after ministers and doctors called on her turned her father’s body over for burial. As many would believe that she was completely insane for doing this, they people of Jefferson, Mississippi did not. They actually felt sorry for Emily, they believed that her father was controlling and would run anyone that came into Emily’s life off. Her friends believe the only reason why Emily kept the body of her father is because that was the only thing she had left to cling to. It was quite some time after her father’s death that the town sees Emily again realizing a long illness that she had suffered after her father’s death. Like many people when they get older they can start to get sick, but Emily’s illness could have come from grief from her father’s death, also it could have been old age as well.
The reader can see that Emily struggles to accept anything new into her life since her teenage years. This causes Emily as she ages to stay stuck in the ways of the past as Emily does not accept time or reality. By doing so she blurs the past with present and continues to live in the past even as the present time continues and moves around. Just like the invisible ticking watch she has, time cannot not be seen even though it is always there and always present
Through psychoanalysis, the readers can see Emily as a victim to the expectations that had to be followed by everyone. Her actions led her to do what she did, which was ultimately not her fault. She went through death and isolation which led her to harvest the body of her loved ones. The rumors and gossip about her led her to isolate herself from the town, which made her an introvert. Truly the circumstances that fell in her way and the unsupportive neighbors that she had is the most logical explanation for her downfall, which shows how Emily was never at fault for her
“A Rose for Emily” is a short story written by William Cuthbert Faulkner. “A Rose for Emily” takes place after the civil war era, around the same time Faulkner wrote it. Faulkner wrote the story during this time period because he grew up listening to civil war stories told by his elders, mainly his grandfather. These stories his grandfather told him inspired him to write “A Rose for Emily.” The story was written about a woman whom he never married. Faulkner did marry, but it was later in his life because he had to wait ten years for the love his of life to return to him. His wife divorced her first husband ten years after Faulkner proposed to her. She was not allowed to marry him at first because her family did not approve of his social
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” illustrates the struggle that comes from trying to maintain tradition in a world that is always expanding and changing its views on everything (SparkNotes Editors). The city of Jefferson, the setting, is at a crossroads of moving towards a modern future much different from the archaic views from before the Civil War. Emily’s house is the last relic of the dying world of Southern aristocracy. She and her home are still lingering in the past and unwilling to change with the community it is in. Through flashback, symbolism, and allusion, Faulkner is able to show Emily as she relates to the theme of this short story. During the period of publication, this short story could relate to those still struggling with trying to live post Civil War and go along with the change in times unlike Emily.
In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily,” A woman named Emily Grierson dies after numerous years of living a secluded lonely life. The story is narrated by the town’s people recounting the events of her life leading up to her death. Only to discover a shocking secret after attending her funeral. The secret Emily had been keeping was fairly gruesome. She had poisoned and kept the decaying body of a man named Homer Barron rumored to have once been her sweetheart. William Faulkner uses a disarrangement of events, foreshadowing, and obscured occurrences which creates a sense of mystery that builds the suspense giving the reader an event to anticipate.
As the story progresses, the author decides to jump all the way to the beginning when miss Emily was still a young woman and her father was still alive. During that time, the town felt bad for poor miss Emily and thought that she was going to die with out a husband by her side, since her father didn’t like any men that liked his daughter.
Throughout the story, the narrator shows how Emily was holding on to the past when everybody else was moving forward in the present and she didn’t want to make changes. Even though there were many deaths that occurred throughout the story, Emily at no time accepted the fact that they actually died. She wasn’t willing to move forward into the future. As seen in the text:
In conclusion Miss Emily lives her life based on one truth; therefore, this causes her to reside to isolation. With this in mind, it also leads to many social issues and because Emily does not accept them she still tries to live in the past. As a final point Miss Emily exhibits loneliness because of these deaths ; therefore, her character resembles a tree that will eventually dry up and
who had lost the person she really knew. This repression of Emily’s father dying was