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Symbolism In A Rose For Emily

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In William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” he illustrates how little effort the townspeople exerted and how this so clearly affected Miss Emily. Over and over again, it can be observed that the townspeople simply push Emily to the back of their minds, unless a situation affects them directly. The lack of attention and encouragement Emily received only fortified her to stick to her stubborn ways. It is through the use of symbolism and setting in “A Rose for Emily”, that Faulkner clearly demonstrates how Miss Emily becomes unwilling to move on, due to the lack of effort, support, and willingness of the townspeople.
The setting for “A Rose for Emily” takes place following the Civil War during the 1870’s in a small town called Jefferson. This time period is critical because at the time, women were not looked at as equal, and were expected to follow a man’s orders. In this case, Emily was to abide by her father’s rules, which she did for the entirety of her life. Emily grew up in a time where women were not treated the same was as men, and her father was a controlling man. He isolated her in his home which was the eyesore among the town, “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, set on what had once been our most select street (Faulkner 308). By the description of the home, Emily was raised by a once wealthy man following the Civil War. During the time of the towns remodeling, only Emily’s house was left untouched, and was unfavorable to the townspeople. The refusal to update or clean up her home symbolizes the unwillingness of Emily to move onto bigger and better things; but her stubbornness does not end there...

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...lack of effort from the community, they allow Emily to believe she is superior, but also encourages her to continue living in her past. Emily is never forced to let go and move on by her fellow townspeople.
It is through symbolism that Faulkner describes the home Emily traps herself in. And in that home, she commits crimes repeatedly, with the awareness of the town and with no repercussions. The community felt both pity and sympathy for Emily, but these feelings did no good for Emily. She had escaped reality, holding her father’s deceased body captive, ignored required tax payments, and even disregarded the rotten smell coming from the decomposing corpse in her home. The lack of effort from the community allowed Emily to slip through the cracks and lock herself away. Possibly, with a more thoughtful and willing community, Emily’s life would have end up differently
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