A Rose For Emily

A Rose For Emily “A Rose for Emily” In “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner’s symbolic use of the “rose” is essential to the story’s theme of Miss Emily’s self-isolation. The rose is often a symbol of love, and portrays an everlasting beauty. The rose has been used for centuries to illustrate an everlasting type of love and faithfulness. Even when a rose dies, it is still held in high regard. Miss Emily’s “rose” exists only within the story’s title. Faulkner leaves the reader to interpret the rose’s symbolic meaning.

Miss Emily was denied the possibility of falling in love in her youth, so subsequently she isolated herself from the world and denied the existence of change. Miss Emily was denied her “rose”, first by her father, then by the townspeople, and then Homer Barron. Through the explicit characterization of the title character, Miss Emily, and the use of the “rose” as a symbol, the reader is able to decipher that Homer Barron was Miss Emily’s only “rose.” Miss Emily’s father denied her the ability to establish a “normal” relationship because of their family’s social position. She lost the will and the desire to do so, even after he died. The reader is aware that Miss Emily’s chances of having a “normal” relationship are hindered by her father’s obstinace.

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Miss Emily’s father was a prominent well-respected southern gentleman, and he would not allow his only daughter to be courted by just anyone. “None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. We had long thought of them as a tableau.” As most little girl’s do, Miss Emily idolized her father, and held him in high regard, even though he was a strong and forbidding man, who did not allow her to experience life. Miss Emily’s father “robbed” her of her ability to court during her youth, and therefore hindered her ability to grow emotionally. She refused to accept that her father was anything but the southern gentleman that he was.

Miss Emily’s first rose could have been her father, but he wasn’t. “We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will. “Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days.” While the corpse of her father remained in the house for three days while Miss Emily refused to accept the her father was dead and that she was now “left alone and a pauper,” she had no idea what to do now that she was alone. She did not know how to accept the fact that she could now make her own decisions.

“So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly but vindicated; even with insanity in the family she wouldn’t have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.” The townspeople knew that Miss Emily’s chances of a semblance of a “normal” life dwindled each day. They assumed because of Miss Emily’s social status, and her age that she would be a spinster, and expected her to act as such. They were appalled when Homer Barron arrived, and he and Miss Emily were seen together in town. They even contacted out of town relatives to come and talk some “sense” into Miss Emily. They could not accept that Emily may be coming into herself, and that she may take on a personality that wasn’t modeled after their expectations of her. When Homer Barron arrived in Jefferson, he knew nothing of the lonely woman in the old white house. Although he is not of Miss Emily’s hierarchy social status, “of course a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer.” The townspeople wouldn’t expect for Miss Emily to even be seen in public speaking with him, let alone gadding about the town.

“Presently we began to see him and Miss Emily on Sunday afternoons driving in the yellow-wheeled buggy and the matched team of bays from the livery stable. At first we were glad that Miss Emily would have an interest because the ladies all said.” This shows the prejudice of the townspeople, who sympathized with the girl with the domineering father, but yet when she is older and is attempting to form a normal “healthy” relationship, they deny her that intrinsic right. Homer Barron is not mentioned often in the story, but the reader gets the gist of the hint that Miss Emily has falling in love for the first time, and then Homer leaves the scene, apparently because the work in Jeffersen is done. The climactic purchase of arsenic foreshadows Faulkner’s eerie direction. Miss Emily has found herself a rose.

Not in the traditional sense of a red flower that one would place between the pages of a bible, but a symbolic one that she would treasure and care for even more. She would not or could not let him leave her. Everyone that she had ever cared for had left her, and she would be damned if it would happen again. Miss Emily got her rose, from herself. She allowed herself to love but would not allow herself to lose.

She had lost everything that had ever come to her, including her self-esteem, and the ability to conform to her father’s and society’s wishes. She isolated herself so that she could be who she was. Miss Emily Grierson isolated herself from a society that would not accept her for who she was. She was viewed as someone to be pitied and scorned. Everyone deserves a rose in life, and yet Miss Emily was denied her rose from everyone that ever came into contact with her. Her father, the townspeople, and even Homer Barron denied her love. Miss Emily found her rose and she would not accept the loss of love.

She gave up her freedom, and isolated herself so that she could be with the one that she loved, and remember the embrace that they once may have shared. Like a flower between the pages of a bible Miss Emily found that living with memories was better than living in a society that scorned her. English Essays.

A Rose for Emily

September 3, 2004
EN 132B
Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. Literature the Human Experience: Reading and
Writing. Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz. Bedford/St. Martins. Boston:
New York, 2002. 666-672
Literary Elements
In A Rose for Emily, William Faulkners use of language foreshadows and builds up to the climax of the story. His choice of words is descriptive, tying resoundingly into the theme through which Miss Emily Grierson threads, herself emblematic of the effects of time and the nature of the old and new. Appropriately, the story begins with death, flashes back to the near distant past and leads on to the demise of a woman and the traditions of the past she personifies.


In the opening characterization, many descriptive words foreshadow the ultimate irony at the climatic ending: her skeleton was small and sparse, she looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water and that pallid hue (667). We learn that her voice was dry and cold and that she did not accept no for an answer (667). Her house, a fading photograph, smelled of dust and disuse-a closed, dank smell, and when her guests are seated a faint dust rises sluggishly about their thighs (667). All of these terms suggest neglect, decay, and entropy.
Miss Emily Grierson is the socialite of her town. Naturally with this status there is a certain reputation she has to withhold. She not only represents her family name but in a sense the people of her town. Because she is such a dominant figure the townspeople have to put her on a pedestal and are very judgmental of her actions to be admired but never touched. Many sutures she had but according to her father none were suitable enough. Emily was reverend as a goddess in the townspeoples eyes.

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When her father passed it was a devastating loss for Emily. Never being able to have developed any real relationship with anyone else it was like her world completely crumbled around her. Emily tried to hold on to him in some way even though his spirit had left. The townspeople subtlety but open objected to this and eventually took his body away. Although this was a sad moment for Emily it was in a sense liberating. She cut off her hair as a sign of breaking away from her fathers control. For the first time in her life she felt free even though she was already thirty years old.
With this restraint being cut and this new found freedom Emily set out to fulfill her desires of finding love and living her own life. In Homer Barron a laborer from the north, Emily found love. This odd relationship shocked the townspeople and they were in turmoil over how to resolve this problem. Emilys distant cousins found a resolution. With these cousins now placed in town to watch over Emily they believed everything would change back to normal. As time passed the people began to recognize the genuine happiness Emily displayed and instead of rejecting the relationship they embraced it.
Although the townspeople did not directly come into contact with Emily their views on her and her family greatly affected her life. Their praises and admiration forced her father to keep her sheltered longer then she needed. When she finally was released she latched onto the first person who was not intimidated or judgmental of her. Being nave to the burdens of relationships and love Emily was not cautious and went head first into it. When she realized Homer would leave, again she made sure he would always be there by killing him. In this death Emily found eternal love which was something no one could ever take from her.
Response
Its amazing how differently people see the world. People from different walks of life interpret everyday experiences in different ways. When one lives his/her life in the public eye it is often difficult to live up to everyones expectations. These repressions often lead these people to use radical methods to fulfill their own needs. Societys view on a so called celebrity can not only be powerful but also destructive.

A Rose For Emily

A Rose For Emily The Impact of Imagery The use of imagery in a short story has a great deal of effect on the impact of the story. A story with effective imagery will give the reader a clear mental picture of what is happening and enhance what the writer is trying to convey to the reader. William Faulkner exhibits excellent imagery that portrays vivid illustrations in ones mind that enhances, A Rose for Emily. The following paragraphs will demonstrate how Faulkner uses imagery to illustrate descriptive pictures of people, places and things that allow Faulkner to titillate the senses. 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 (287). Faulkner starts the story off with a mental picture of Emilys house to be an old Victorian house. It is on a street that is commercializing which makes the house stand out and appear out of place.

A description of Emily discloses her similarity to the house. She looked bloated, like a body, long submerged in motionless water, and that of palled hue (288). Faulkner describes her like this so that the reader may picture a pale, older woman, who seemingly hasnt done much but eat, having no muscle tone, and clumps of fat more or less clinging to her body. She was sickly old woman. An even closer look at her face reveals her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough (288).

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This description enhances the mental picture of Emily even more. The overly chubby face, gives the reader a definite mental picture of an old and obese woman. Faulkners description of Homer Barron, Emilys lover, is less detailed but just as effective. He was a Yankeea big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face (290). The first picture of Homer that would come to mind would probably be a rough and rugged construction worker, with dark skin, somewhat like that of a roofer.

This image is somewhat connected with that of the image of Emilys father. Another way that Faulkner exhibits imagery, is the odor, coming from Emilys house, that the neighbors are complaining about. When Judge Stevens said that its probably just a snake or a rat that nigger of hers killed in the yard (289), right away, the smell of rotting flesh comes to mind. Creating a putrid, horrible smell in the readers mind. Odor is a very effective use of imagery when an author is trying to convey a characters feelings of something in the story.

The most detailed mental picture that Faulkner describes in the story would be that of the room in the upstairs of Emilys house. A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie every where upon this room decked and furnished as for a bridal: upon the valance curtains of faded rose color, upon the roseshaded lights, upon the dressing table, upon the delicate array of crystal and the mans toilet things backed with tarnished silver, silver so tarnished that the monogram was obscured. Among them lay collar and tie, as if they had just been removed, which, lifted, left upon the surface a pale crescent in the dust. Upon a chair hung the suit, carefully folded; beneath it the two mute shoes and the discarded socks (293). As the neighbors walk in and it is described what they see, an image of maybe a basement would come to mind.

Where things are placed and not touched for many years, collecting dust and fading in color. As the room is being described, the reader almost should feel as if he or she is one of the neighbors who just broke down the door. If the reader felt as if he or she was in the story, Faulkner successfully and effectively created imagery. When the writer successfully creates imagery, the reader should be able to have a clear mental picture of what is happening and feel as if they are looking through the narrators eyes. William Faulkner displays excellent imagery which helps the reader better understand the real meaning of the story. Faulkners imagery of the people, places, and things in his stories, creates a painting type image, which truly titillates the senses. Bibliography Works Cited 1.

Barnet, Sylvan. An Introduction to Literature. Eleventh Edition. Longman Inc. New York, 1997. English Essays.

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