Symbolism In A Rose For Emily

1274 Words3 Pages
A Rose for Emily is a southern gothic short story about an elderly woman stuck in her ways. When we are first introduced to Emily it is at her funeral where the entire town has come to falsely pay their respects. The men only went to Emily’s funeral because they viewed her as a fallen monument and the women only went out of curiosity to peer inside Emily’s house, which had been closed up to the world and shrouded in mystery for decades. Throughout the story, the narrator gradually describes Emily’s descent into madness and her unwillingness to accept the change happening around her. The central theme of A Rose for Emily focuses on the never-ending battle between tradition and change, which is expertly portrayed by William Faulkner’s use of…show more content…
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
Open Document