Essay about Symbolism in A Rose For Emily

The main symbolism running throughout A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, is the theme of how important it is to let go of the past. Miss Emily clings to the past and does not want to be independent. The Old South is becoming the new South and she cannot move forward. The residents of the South did not all give in to change just because they lost the Civil War. In A Rose for Emily time marches on leaving Miss Emily behind as she stubbornly refuses to progress into a new era. In the story, symbolism is used to give more details than the author actually gives to the reader. Symbolism helps to indicate how Emily was once innocent but later changes, how her hair, house, and lifestyle, helped to show her resistance to change. The story is not told in chronological order. The events of her life are revealed slowly and create suspense over the telling of the story by the narrator. The narrator represents the town and its residents.

The “old south” attitude was shown after her father’s death when Colonel Sartoris invented a story about the town owing her father money, therefore excusing her from paying taxes. Later, when the new generation tried to force her to pay taxes she stubbornly refused. This symbolized her refusal to step into the present. This stubborn refusal caused her not to keep up with events in the town. She did not even realize that Colonel Sartoris had been dead for ten years.

She seemed to always be part of an earlier time. She surrounded herself with reminders of the past. The description of her house showed her desire to hold back time. Another example of Emily’s change was also exhibited in how the house began to degenerate. At one time the house was white and immaculate. Now the house was du…

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…ne in society.

The rose often represents love and ever-lasting beauty. Roses are often preserved after they die. Emily was denied a rose. Her father denied her suitors when she was young. Her town denied her suitors later. Homer Barron also denied her love because he saw himself as not the marrying kind of man. She refused, however, to give up her “rose” when she fell in love with Homer. She kept him in the only way that she could. She isolated herself from the world to keep him. The room she kept him in was rose colored. There was an indentation in the pillow where her head had lain. On the pillow was a long strand of iron gray hair. Her deep feelings and longings indented her heart like the indentation in the pillow. She controlled them the only way she knew how. She kept the man she loved from moving forward in time. She kept him in the past with her.

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