Literary Devices in William Faulkner’s A Rose For Emily Essay

“A Rose for Emily”, written by William Faulkner, is a southern-gothic short story that initially debuted in the magazine publication Forum, in 1930. The fictional plot opens after the death of the main protagonist, Miss Emily Grierson, the daughter of a once southern, aristocratic businessman. The southern belle fails numerous times to find companionship outside of her immediate family because her father runs off all prospective suitors. During the main character’s aged lifespan, the townsfolk notice Miss Emily’s reclusiveness increase after the loss of her father, Mr. Grierson, and after the rejection of her courtship with Homer Barron. After the random disappearance of Barron, no man or woman has been seen entering the threshold of the antebellum structure, aside from the occasional resurfacing of a Negro man, Tobe, the domain’s gardener and cook. Mystery shrouds the estate, frozen in a self-contained past, as a capricious reality continues evolving; Miss Emily dedicates her life to holding on to her precious past. Faulkner thoroughly utilizes dynamic imagery, symbolism, and tone through his character, Miss Emily. The writer uses the plot to portray one central, enveloping theme; time gives way towards change, and humans, no matter the intended effort, shall never be able to alter the undertakings of reality.

First and foremost, Faulkner uses the vast imagery of the Grierson property to show Miss Emily’s resilience to the evolving times. In Faulkner’s exposition, the author depicts Miss Emily’s home as aging and decrepit. The house is known to have, “ . . . [a] big, squarish frame . . . that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies . . .” (F…

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…he barriers of death to continue her loving relationship with the only man who she could have, after the loss of her father.

Time is unbendable, and human beings are unable to alter the reality of their past, regardless of efforts or resistance to unstoppable progression of history. Miss Emily, through continuous efforts, holds her love and passions close to her heart until death. The tomb of her lover resembles the innate drive humans have to relive the past and to cherish the sentimental features of living. William Faulkner shows his audience, as reality works, that no one can alter the scape of time at whim, yet one can adapt to the changes as they occur; Miss Emily creates her own infinite loop of time and era, while the truth of reality continues outside her realm.

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” University of Virginia. Web. 18 Aug. 2013.

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