Theme Of Symbolism In A Rose For Emily

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Stories are often used as a platform for authors to have their voices heard. The stories help deliver an overall message using devices such as symbolism. William Faulkner often wrote about the way he saw the world; most commonly his stories take place in and portray the South. “A Rose for Emily” is full of symbolism, with many story elements representing themes such as the inability to control death, the historical conflict between the northern and southern United States, and the struggle between keeping traditions alive and changing for the future. While the story’s title is “A Rose for Emily”, hardly any signs of the flower exist in the work. Although, most commonly a rose symbolizes love or death, in this story it is only mentioned twice,…show more content…
In this story they also symbolize death. They are only mentioned twice; however, each time they are associated with a death and a smell. The first time is when the town’s ladies are complaining about a smell coming from Emily’s house. Judge Stevens says that “it’s probably just a snake or a rat” (Faulkner 324). Thus he unknowingly referred to Emily’s father as a rat. Seeing rats as a symbol of death makes it easy for the reader to connect the death of Emily’s father. Again rats are mentioned when Emily goes to buy arsenic “For rats” (Faulkner 325). Later once again, the townspeople complain about the smell coming from Emily’s house. It turns out she had used the rat poison on Homer. Every Time rats are mentioned in the story one can relate it to a death as well. At the end of the story, the townspeople find a rotted corpse in the attic bed and a single strand of silver hair lying next to it (Faulkner 327). This seems to suggest that Emily sleeps with Homer’s dead body throughout the story. This is a symbol for Emily embracing death. No doubt she knows that she will eventually die, but unlike so many others, she accepts her fate and waits for the day it will take her away. In this way, one can see her courage and unending devotion to life and death. It almost seems as if she worships death, or admires…show more content…
The South does not take lightly to the incoming change from the North. The people took whatever means necessary to prevent it from happening. Homer’s character is also a symbol for the existing social caste system at the time. Some of what makes Homer such a controversial man in Jefferson is his courtship of Emily. Emily is from a prestigious and wealthy family that even is excluded from taxes due to her intimidating and stubborn nature.. On the other hand, Homer is a construction foreman and considered “a day laborer” (Faulkner 325). His line of work is considered too dirty and a job for the common man, not worthy of a refined lady like
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