Symbolism of Houses in A Doll's House and A Rose For Emily Essay

Symbolism of Houses in A Doll's House and A Rose For Emily Essay

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The state of a flawed society is an issue that many people recognize, but have different ways of approaching it. In the case of William Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily” he examines the raw truth of the act of avoiding a flawed and evolving society. Whereas, “A Doll’s House” by Katherine Mansfield portrays the way that a flawed society can change through small acts of resistance that break the boundaries of social hierarchies. Both Mansfield and Faulkner use houses as symbols of a flawed society in their stories, however the manner in which they use these symbols are very different.
In a “Rose for Emily”, Faulkner uses Emily’s house as a symbol of the barrier Emily forms between herself and society. As society moves through generations and changes over the years, Emily remains the same, within the borders of her own household. The house is described as “in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street”(125), but years passed and more modern houses had “obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood” (125). Faulkner set the house apart from the rest of the neighborhood, and Emily is described in the beginning as “a fallen monument” and a “tradition” indicating that she had not changed in an extended amount of time. The symbol of the house, remaining unchanged through the decades that passed becomes stronger when Emily does not permit tax collectors to pass through the threshold of the house, “She vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before”. Emily’s image of a “monument” to the community’s small society caused her to become exempt from the demands of the state that the rest of the population had to adhere to. Emily’s house enab...


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...” image to the rest of the town. “The Doll’s House” is symbolic of the current state of society, with the benefits lying in the higher classes hands. Unlike “A Rose For Emily”, Kezia does not hide from the current state of things, but resists the status quo and shares a special piece of hope, the lamp, with children that are beneath her in the social hierarchy. This interaction of characters in the story symbolizes the incentive for change in a flawed society. The houses in both stories are symbolic of a flawed society, but the two authors use these symbols in very different ways in communicating their message.
Though the two stories are very different in how they deal with the issues of society, the symbols of houses present a very similar meaning to both stories. Both relate to a flawed society, however one acts as a barrier and another as an agent for change.

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