Themes in William Faulkner´s A Rose for Emily

Better Essays
William Faulkner published “A Rose For Emily” in 1930 to a national magazine. The short story is based on a traditional character named Emily Grierson who must make a radical change from her conventional beliefs. Faulkner uses Emily's withdraw from the town to establish a deeper connection with the reader. William Faulkner uses symbolism, figurative language, and a transitioning plot to add to the main themes of the short story.
“A Rose For Emily” presents a southern Gothic style of writing; possessing a corpse, murder, a mysterious servant, and a decaying mansion. The protagonist, Emily Grierson, is an aristocratic woman who is admired by the town of Jameson where she lives. She married Homer Barron, then murdered him with rat poison and slept with his corpse. Emily isolates herself with her caretaker Tom who mysteriously disappears after Emily's death. “A Rose For Emily consists of multiple themes such as isolation, compassion and forgiveness, versions of reality, and memory of the past. The story and characters assuage to build these themes; hooking the reader to the story.
Faulkner's “A Rose For Emily” includes multiple symbolism that builds the main theme of not being able to grow up. The first symbol is Emily's house which Faulkner describes as, “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. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores”(Faulk...

... middle of paper ...

...hielded since youth from the real world, grew up in a world of her own making. This world was one that time and age could not touch, where others were not her peers, but merely tools to fuel her fantasies” (4). The plot helps build the this theme that Miss Emily is trapped in time, her own little world. The foreshadowing allows for the reader to understand Faulkner's concept of Miss Emily's way of thinking while helping the reader understand the non chronological story structure.
William Faulkner's “A Rose For Emily” eludes from the common short story, developing sympathy for a murderer. The use of figurative language, an non chronological plot structure, and symbolism drives the main themes of the story. “A Rose For Emily” leaves an overall message to the reader about a character resisting to change and serves as an example for future generations to study.
Get Access