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Symbolism In William Faulkner's 'A Rose For Emily'

A Headless Antagonist When one door closes, another door opens. For most people, there is so much truth behind those words; however, in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”, Miss Emily appears to be a little divergent from the norm. When a door opens for her-which is a rarity-, it is usually the same one that previously closed. The only threshold crossable in her life lies at the entrance to her house, and it plays a major role in her existence . Her house is controlling her entire life and influencing the people around her, but the going-and-coming of it is out of anyone’s control. As seen through the solitude, the trap-door effect, and the death associated with the house, Miss Emily is not keeping people out of her house, the house is keeping…show more content…
To Miss Emily and her father, the house is a monument and last standing emblem of the South, but the building that once sat on the town’s “most select street” (52) has become a symbol of Miss Emily’s isolation and loneliness, not the southern aristocracy that she thinks. The abode is seen to the townspeople as an interruption to the progress and success of Jefferson: “[...] only Miss Emily’s house [is] left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps- an eyesore among eyesores” (52). The beauty and southern charm that once made this house so unique has withered away and morphed into a lockbox for the past. Miss Emily nor her father have ever seemed to desire relocation to a residence of greater companionship, and not a soul longs to become the new homeowner of the so-thought-of historic palace. Seclusion has long been the address of Miss Emily’s…show more content…
Phrases such as “the door through which no visitor [has] passed [...] eight or ten years earlier” (52) and “[the house] [smells] of dust and disuse” (53) note that the Grierson’s residence is more of a pitfall than a home. The Griersons think of it as a safe house, but it actually traps them and separates them from all of society. Even the townspeople notice this from an outside-looking-in perspective. The house seems to be a suffocating, mysterious “lightsome style of the seventies” (52) prison to the townspeople. The enigma of the place causes peeping from the outside almost irresistible. Thus, the townspeople seem to pay close attention to the activity around the house: “the Negro man [goes] in and out” (57). This sets up for an abundance of little whispers to spread throughout the town. The observers notice that the daily residents seem to vanish once the door is latched shut, but that is as far as their wandering goes, especially for the new generation. These people experience “the front door [closing] [...] and [remaining] closed for good” (57) of Miss Emily’s house. The house is not a house at all but rather an inescapable jail
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