Symbolism in Death of a Salesman Essay
“Death of a Salesman” is a play written in 1949 by an American playwright, Arthur Miller. The play is based on both Miller’s personal experiences and the theatrical traditions in which he was instructed in. “Death of a salesman” revolves around the Loman family with Willy Loman, the father, who also works as a salesman as the main character.
Willy Loman has indulged himself in a myth of being well-liked and being attractive to succeed in the business world. He believes that personal talent is not as important and actually uses this myth against his neighbors and friends, Charley and Bernard, who he does not consider to be physically attractive.
Due to this belief implanted in them, the Lomans lead an unpleasant and unfulfilled life while their neighbors enjoyed success. Willy is also in a delusional mental state and is caught in between the past and the present in which he keeps having hallucinations and reveries.
He lives in a flimsy fantasy world which is full of excuses and daydreams as he desperately attempts to make sense of himself, his hopes and the world that once held so much promise.
In the play, Miller uses different styles and devices to bring out Willy’s situation, and what it is all about and symbolism is one of these styles. Here is an analysis of symbolism in the play: Willy Loman’s character, including his salesman career, symbolizes an ordinary man in American society.
He acts as a representation of the ordinary man leading a fruitless life in a flourishing nation. Somehow, Willy reflects the dilemma of the common man fighting for his survival and trying to pay his bills yet live like everyone else. This is mainly observed when he is caught in a dilemma on how to pay his last mortgage payment.
Besides, Charley, his neighbor constantly gives him money to take home to his wife as if it was his salary as his salesman job is fluttering around him and he does not earn enough from it.
In one of their conversations, he even tells Charley that a gentleman is valuable more when he is departed than when he is living. It’s ironical that in the end, he commits suicide so that his family can get his life insurance money to pay for the mortgage.
Contrary, Charley’s character symbolizes the voice of reason in Willy’s deluded world. Charley who is Willy’s neighbor and only friend is a successful man with his own sales business. He tries to offer Willy a job several times and even after Willy is fired, but Willy turns down the offers as he regards it as an insult to his image. However, Charley is only trying to help him out, but Willey couldn’t appreciate that.
In one of the scenes, Charley is present during one of Willy’s daydream and as he tries to talk to him convincingly, but instead Willy yells back at him. This confuses Charley, and he decides to leave him alone as he does not understand what is going on. Apart from his family, only Charley and Bernard, his son, attend Willy’s funeral.
In the play, leaves are often seen to appear around the present setting during Willy’s reveries. These leaves are a representation of the leaves from the two elm trees which were situated next to the house in the early days. This was before Willy cut them down to build a hammock for him to relax with his family.
The trees were also cut down to pave the way for the development of the apartment blocks around their neighborhood. When Willy first moved into the neighborhood, the air was clean and fresh and the atmosphere, serene and quiet. However, in the present day, development and construction of new apartments have taken over, and the atmosphere is no longer the same, it been over-exploited and polluted.
In parts of the flashbacks, Biff and Happy are dressed in high school football sweaters. This is a symbol of the hope they had and the success that seemed so close during that time. Biff was the star of his high school football team and was even invited to attend three universities during his senior year.
Bernard even begs Biff if he could carry his helmet as he goes for the Ebbets Field game in his senior year. (Miller 165) notes that “In the scene at Frank Chop’s house, Happy goes on to brag to the woman he’s flirting with that Biff is a quarterback with the New York Giants, which is a lie.”
The jungle, which is constantly mentioned in connection to Ben, is symbolic of life. Willy even says “The woods are burning! I can’t drive a car!” (as cited in Miller, 22) when he has a foreboding sense of his life crashing around him. Ben is Willy’s dead brother who had gone to Africa, discovered a diamond mine in the jungle and became very successful.
Ben says in the play “When I was seventeen, I walked into the jungle. And by twenty-one, I walked out. And by God, I was rich!” (as cited in Miller, 49). He asked Willy to go with him at the time but he refused, and that became the cause for deep regret for the rest of his life.
In the same context, there is an appearance of diamonds which symbolize success. Willy idolizes Ben as he seems to be living the American dream while he is stuck in a rut he can’t pull himself out of. As the play comes to an end, Uncle Ben refers to the jungle by saying that “You must go into the jungle and fetch a diamond out” (Miller 65). Willy keeps wishing that he had followed Ben to Alaska and then Africa, then he might have been just as rich.
Stockings are another form of symbolism depicted in the play. They symbolize Willy’s infidelity and his uncaring attitude towards his wife.
Willy gives the stockings that his wife mends, to his mistress as gifts. During one of his flashbacks, Willy hears “The Woman’s” laughter and becomes agitated. He immediately gets angry and starts shouting at his wife, Linda, and Bernard. He even orders Linda to throw out the stockings and reprimands her for mending them.
His infidelity also costs him his relationship with his son when Biff accidentally found Willy with his mistress. Biff is dejected, and he loses all respect for his father. Consequently, the guilt Willy feels is the cause of his tense relations with Biff and his disconcerted behavior around his wife.
The recorder is another form of symbolism that is used in the play. When Willy goes to his boss, Howard Wagner, to try and get him to relocate him to the New York office, Wagner does not give him time to talk. (Miller 45) Says that “Instead, he interrupts him and makes him listen to his wife and kids on the wire recorder. This recorder and the voices in it symbolize the success that Willy has always dreamed of and wished he had.” In all his endeavors, this success seems to elude him even though he never gives up hope.
Willy goes on and tells Wagner that he would get a recorder as well, which is a symbol of his pride since there is no way he could afford to buy one. Eventually, his boss does not listen to him, turns down his plea and ends up firing him.
In the play, tennis rackets have also been used as a form of symbolism. They are a figure of Ironic metaphor of Bernard’s success. Bernard is seen going to take part in tennis with an associate of his, who owns a tennis court. This symbolism is seen as ironic because a glimpse from the past projected that the Loman brothers would be the ones to be successful in the sports department.
From the first act, Bernard would continuously be seen trying to intervene in Biffs academic life, which he did not seem bothered with as he was busy concentrating on his football vocation. In the end, due to neglecting his grades, Biff ends up losing football as well, whereas Bernard, who focused more on his books, becomes successful even in sports.
The flutes and flute music have been used to symbolize the far gone and good times when Willy was a stable person. They bring nostalgia and memories of the old times when he was younger and with great hope for immense success in the business world, comes the future. For instance, in one of the scenes where Willy goes into a reverie, he is talking with his brother Ben about his father, who used to manufacture and sell flutes.
Ben brags about how their father was a great man and inventor, and it is obvious from this talk that Willy’s father was just as successful as his brother is. Willy is therefore left wondering why the same fate did not befall him as he believes that his family is of a thriving heritage.
In the last Act, as the play is about to come to an end, Willy is seen planting seedlings in the garden. (Miller 47) notes that “The seeds symbolize a natural process of growth that prevails in nature and the garden is symbolic of Willy wanting to leave something as a commemoration of him.” He hopes to leave something that people will look at and be reminded of him as a great man.
He plants the seeds in the hope that the garden will one day grow into something substantial enough in contrast to his life which he considers a failure.
As he plants the seeds, he has a conversation with Ben about a $20,000 deal that would give Biff a good startup boost in his life and his business. In the end, this deal he is talking about ends up being his life insurance.
In conclusion, Miller uses symbolism in the play to bring out the hopelessness in the Loman’s family. Through this, the audience can empathize with them and their situation. It becomes evident how the ‘American dream’ myth can adversely affect a person as they try to pursue it.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Oxford, UK: Penguin Classic, 1998. Print.
Symbolism and Imagery in O Captain! My Captain!
Symbolism and imagery are some of the significant elements of style in poetry. In this essay, symbolism and imagery in O Captain, My Captain shall be analyzed in detail. Symbolism element is used to emphasize internalized poetry aspects to describe the feeling and thoughts of a poet due to a lack of better words to describe them.
It uses an object, an idea, a person, or a place to bring out a more profound meaning rather than what it represents itself. Imagery element, on the other hand, uses figurative words to make the reader see things from the poet’s perspective. It emphasized creative speaking or writing, vivid images, suggestions, or descriptive presentation.
It not only needs to be visual but involves all the five senses; sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. The two poetry elements are also referred to as the metaphors in a single terminology. The poet employs the abundant use of imagery and symbolism in passing the message, ideas, and the subject of the poem.
Symbolism in O Captain, My Captain
The first stanza of the poem O Captain, My Captain has a lot of imagery and symbolism depicting the era of Abraham Lincoln. In the first line, the captain is used to symbolize Abraham Lincoln, who was the union leader in the civil war. What does the ship symbolize in O Captain, My Captain? The ship is used to represent America as a country, and the “fearful trip” (Whitman, 2006, p. 1) is a representation of the civil war during the Abraham Lincoln era.
The “prize we sought is won” (Trinh, 2002, p. 1) symbolizes the union victory in freeing the people from slavery during the civil war. “The port is near, the bells I hear, people exulting” (Hennessey, 2001, p. 1) is used to symbolize the jubilation and happiness of the American people since they had overcome the war of slavery and won.
Imagery in O Captain, My Captain
The proceeding lines deliver the captain’s death after the victory of the civil war, which is the main theme of the poem. Repetition of “but O Heart! Heart! Heart! “(Trinh, 2002, p. 1) represents the speakers’ horror to the fact that the captain has died.
Repetition of the word heart with an exclamation mark is an imagery representation of the disbelief in the speakers’ towards his captain’s death. “Bleeding drops of red” (Whitman, 2006, p. 1) is used to represents the captain’s wounded heart and the wounds in the captain’s body. The rhythm portrays the emotion of the speaker and in the country population at large.
The second stanza contrast the two groups emotions, this is made possible through the use of rich imagery to portray the different effect of the president assassination. One group of the crowd is gathering to celebrate the victory of the military that was lead by the dead Lincoln while the other crowd is mourning his death. “Rise up and hear the bells” (Whitman, 2006, p. 1). The bell symbolizes the jubilation by one group and wailing, anguish, and pain of loss in the other group of the population.
Also, the bugle can be taken to represent military calls for victory; they are played at soldiers’ funerals as a sign of honor, and a hero send-off. Wreaths and bouquets is an imagery of the two emotion state the population is going through after the assassination.
One crowd is rejoicing, while the other is mourning the death of the leader Abraham Lincoln. The summary depicts the different reactions by the population to his death. The captain is being referred to as the father by the speaker for the first time in the poem (Trinh, 2002, p. 2). This show Lincoln was not only recognized by the people as their president but also as a mentor of the generation. He symbolizes a new dawn or era in American history, where people are free from slavery.
In the last lines, the speaker is in self-denial concerning the death of Lincoln, he even says it is a dream. In the last line, “You have fallen cold and dead” (Hennessey, 2001, p. 1), it qualifies the speaker state of disbelief concerning the president’s death. He even assumes the president could hear him by talking to his corpse, later it sinks into his mind the president has crossed over to the other world.
His death is what the imagery emphasizes in the last stanza. The speaker describes him as still with pale lips, having no pulse, and he could not feel his arms. This creates a vivid description of a dead body, the narrator speaks from a third persona rather from a first persona as with stanza one and two.
He talks of the population enjoying the newfound freedom from slavery while he suffers the loss from the death of the president, which adds irony to the poem. As the poem finishes, he acknowledges the president is indeed dead, but he continues to mourn (Whitman, 1997, p. 1). Despite the reality of the president being dead, it is clear many are still to come to terms with his death.
The pain and anguish the American population felt after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination were unbearable. It is clear from the poem that it is still hard for them to accept the loss of their hero. The beauty of the poem can be attributed to the vivid expression made possible by the use of symbolism and imagery in the poem.
The essay analyzes imagery and symbolism in the poems and answers significant questions such as “Who Does the Captain Symbolize in O Captain, My Captain?” The poem is an elegy. It has been used to vividly describe the scenario in America slightly before and after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, who was the president at that time. From the poem, we get a vivid picture of the people’s perception towards their president and also his character.
It is clear from the poem the president was a man of the people, and he was wholly accepted and adored by the majority of the citizens. He represented the people and spoke the people’s language, expressing their views and ideas. Genuinely was the president in representing the people’s concerns who had elected him into office.
Hennessey, M. (2001). O Captain! My Captain! By Walt Whitman. Web.
Trinh, H. (2002). Literary analysis: O Captain, My Captain, by Walt Whitman. Web.
Whitman, W. (1997). O Captain. My Captain. Academy of American Poets. Web.
Whitman, W. (2006). O Captain. My Captain. Analysis. Web.
“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” Analysis of Symbolism & Meaning
The following is an explication of the poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats. This analysis of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” will discuss the poem, line by line, while explaining the meaning of literary elements involved for critical appreciation.
According to Capuano (146), “Instead of establishing a distance between speaker and reader, Yeats fuses the reader’s perspective into the speaker’s memory of a detached and physically separate island.” Indeed, the poem is capable of guiding the reader through a tranquil land from memory. The objective of this explication is to make the meaning of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” clear.
Yeats had the “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” published in 1892, and the final published version of the poem is as follows:
‘I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.’ (Yeats para. 1-3).
The first stanza takes the reader from ordinary reality to the speaker’s imagination. Symbolism in “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is not evident in the first line as it sets the stage for the rest of the poem. It does this while showing the reader the central idea that the author intends to travel to Innisfree (but is not there at the beginning of the poem).
The second line begins to add imagery to the poem, and further introduces the setting of the land in question, but here in terms of the speaker’s residence. Introducing the residence is naturally essential because it is central to the speaker’s perspective, and the speaker also describes the creation of the home.
With only two lines of the poem, Yeats can take the reader into his memory, which (in combination with the title) implies the location is serene, full of nature, and tranquil without explicitly saying so until later in the poem. The third line adds more imagery, and the solitude of the speaker and extent of natural lifestyle is confirmed with this (and the fourth) line.
From this stanza, the author informs the reader of his desire for a peaceful lifestyle, an escape, and the blessings of nature, and further confirms his ability to experience these things in a home he has established for himself on the Lake Isle of Innisfree.
The second stanza begins to dive deeper into the speaker’s memory as his desire for peace and the extent of the tranquility there. The first line asserts that peace is entirely possible at the location, but implies that it may take a while to come, possibly because of his current state in his current location.
In the next line, he states that peace is present (in the location, not immediately within himself) in the morning and continuing throughout the surrounding nature all day. In the following third and fourth lines of the second stanza, the reader is informed of the nature of the imagery in the location, which includes colorful overcasts, flourishing wildlife, and glimmering night skies.
The second stanza confirms the extent of the natural imagery (and sensations that were only briefly mentioned and implied in the first stanza), while the author further claims that these are capable of bringing him peace.
With the rejuvenating nature of the location now confirmed, as well as the author’s enjoyment of it, the third stanza begins to pull away from the memory (which is a sort of daydreaming of the positive and stimulating aspects). The first line abruptly brings the reader back to reality and the author’s current intentions, and the second line brings in more imagery that motivates him to go to the location.
The lake is finally mentioned in this line, and the sound of it is implied to be as or more stimulating than the imagery in the second stanza. The author then confirms his longing for nature and desires to dream with the last two lines, claiming in conclusion that the aspects of his current and modern world cannot fill the void in the core of his heart, while the lake isle can.
Yeats described some aspects of his writing process with “my first lyric with anything in its rhythm of my own music. I had begun to loosen rhythm as an escape from rhetoric and from that emotion of the crowd that rhetoric brings, but I only understood vaguely and occasionally that I must for my special purpose use nothing but the common syntax) (Yeats “Origin” para. 1).
As is clear from the analysis essay on “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, this poem shows the theme of a man’s longing to escape into nature for peace and reconnection. The entire poem is based on memory, as the poem further illustrates the power of a man revealing positive points from memory alone.
Capuano, Peter. “Imagination and Recollection: The Power and Process of Memory in ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree.’”The South Carolina Review. 29 Apr. 2011. Web.
Yeats, William Butler. “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” Corpus Christi, TX: Javelina Press, 2000.
Yeats, William Butler. “Origin of ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree.’” 29 Apr. 2011. Web.
Symbolism in play The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne Explicatory Essay
Nathaniel Hawthorne has primarily used symbolism in his work as a style of narrative maneuver. A symbol like the black color has been used to denote the veil itself. It is a symbol of evil and secret sin of humanity. The veil representation has been commonly used to illustrate fear of the unknown and the rigidity in the puritan society.
Besides, the typical nuance veil has rested in the somatic and conceptual disadvantage that it establishes, amid the minister and his brethren and the shame that it articulates.
Hawthorne (89) describes that the congregation trust that the exterior exhibits offers evidence in regard to a person’s essential features, thus his or her incredible comportment. Hence by embracing the veil, the minister diminishes the authority on which the faithful can accurately envisage his conduct.
This causes isolation of the minister with his congregation, although he is made reckless already by simple action of wearing the veil. Fragment of the terrifying effect of veil descends from consciousness (Meyer, 65).
The consciousness alludes that the other person is capable of seeing without being identified or seen himself. This is illustrated by members of the congregation when they say “the most blameless girl and the man of cynical breast sensed as if the minister had crept on them. Behind this dreadful veil, revealed their amassed unfairness of deed (Hawthorne, 113)
As the congregation cannot aptly predict where the minister is gazing, they trust and assume that they are being watched diligently than normal. This hypothesis is reinforced by the theme of the discourse, which “had typified furtive evil and the miserable secrecies which people skin from the rest of society”.
Hence, the ministers exemplify the responsibility of “God”, whose probing examination can decode secret mystery of an individual of the soul. Equally, the wearing of the veil is a signal of being guilty. As a classic illustration for the society, the minister accordingly infers that individuals have to accept the same.
The minister criticizes the people by being chauvinistic and fallen from the philosophy of ethics. They are extremely concerned, with the growing power drilled over them in embracing shared uniqueness of Puritan America. This is apparent in fundamental battle amid the people and society (Hawthorne, 79).
The Minister’s black veil symbol can also be illustrated clearly on the universal variance between puritanism and sensitivity, which is the attitude that hominid are dualistic; they have inherent, evil side and an internalized, moralistic side.
Rendering to this set of conjecture, the “Evil or darkness” as described by Hawthorne, we can infer that darkness is a natural part of an individual (Hawthorne, 97).
The Minister recognizes the evil in him and formulates alternatives to curb obstacles that can preserve his sentient character from intolerable and suppressed self. This obstacle is embodied in the veil (Meyer, 104).
It is subsequently transferred as a reflection of clandestine sin. The congregation epitomizes the cognizant of the persona, which entails the ethics and tenets verbalized by humanity. To evade frightening acuities from inflowing cognizance, they embrace multiple instruments. The multiplicity of these shield instruments is illustrated by the antiphons of minister’s homily (Hawthorne, 3).
Various people search for means of appraising the situation, as in case, the existence of others. Others find a way to befuddle themselves from their feelings, by talking and laughing loudly. Other people dismiss or refute their feeling of the situation.
Symbols in Hawthorne’s play, The Minister’s Black Veil illustrate the impenetrable obstacle existing in all human souls. The point illustrated by the symbols alludes that every individual should accept his or her “black veil” (Meyer, 123). However, if we humans are contented in accepting the evil in them, there is a concern to come when individuals will be compelled to put aside their veils.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Minister’s Black Veil, Iowa: Perfection Learning, 2007
Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing, London: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007
Symbolism in three literature works Analytical Essay
Use of symbolism in literature works has been utilized more often to represent true meanings of the stories as conveyed by writers. Presenting symbolism in stories has several advantages.
These include presenting readers with the opportunity to interpret ideas from such works. In addition, symbolism improves a reader’s critique and presents him/her with valuable poetic analysis skills. Most authors use symbolisms in their works to send clear but silent messages to audience. This helps in giving varied interpretation of literary works.
Another significance of symbolism is its silent message, which appeals to readers. These are usually found in most artistry works. They form the foundation of artistry since almost every message in arts focus on interpretation of symbols and images. Symbolisms are utilized to add quality to the works presented.
This paper will analyze symbolisms used in three literature works presented below. These are in “The Cherry Orchard”, “The Hairy Ape”, and “Madame Bovary”. It will also endeavor to identify at least one symbolism in each of these works as presented by the author.
“The Cherry Orchard”
This is a story in a Russian setting with several presentations of symbolisms. Among these, include the Cherry Orchard, and Breaking string. This play emphasizes mainly on the past and memory.
For instance, they refer to their room as a nursery even though it is clear that there are no children in it. Symbolism is conveyed in the form of Cherry Orchard, which is heavily presented throughout the play. Almost everything revolves around this symbol. It is quite interesting to note how Ranevsky perceives orchards.
The Cherry Orchard is presented as a huge gigantic tree in Russia and is estimated to produce over 4 million pounds of cherries from one crop. It is quite amazing that with such amount of cherries, Ranevsky cannot be economically sustained. Moreover, Lopakhin’s estate covers more than 2500 acres, which should be covered by Cherry Orchards.
According to Firs, recipe used to make cherry jam was lost, and this seems to explain why they could not cover most of the estate with Cherry Orchard. This can be seen as a relic of past and symbolizes end to the period when Cherry Orchard was useful. Furthermore, the Cherry Orchard’s unrealistic size, which is assumed as largest in Russia, presents another symbolism of past memories.
In this regard, the Orchard is symbolized to represent a certain aspect of memory. It is also quite important to note that memory is represented by different characters in varying ways. For instance, each of the characters perceives a different aspect of past events with Orchards. An example is Ranevsky who relates the Orchard with his dead mother whom he perceives to be walking in Cherry Orchards.
In essence, the Orchards represents a symbol of his past that is unwanted and may provide reasons why more crops are not planted in that estate. In this case, the Orchard represents personal relic to Ranevsky, in her idyllic life as a young girl.
Other representations of Orchard include those presented by Trofimov, who observes Serf’s faces in the orchard. The Serfs had died as slaves in that Estate.
To him this orchard reminds him of suffering the slaves underwent. Lopakhin on the other hand sees Orchard as a representation of his brutal childhood and a hindrance to prosperity. Evidently, each character has a reason to like or hate the crop, no wonder it is magnified in unrealistic manner. It can also be noticed that here is a major division between the youth and old.
According to Lopakhin, the orchard presents an obstacle to prosperity, while in the case of Ranevsky, its past memories are relishing. This is a further proof of the Orchard’s representation of past memories. It is therefore quite clear that every event and happenings as well as characters try to relate to Cherry orchards in one way or another. The orchard is therefore used as a symbolism in this play.
“The Hairy Ape”
The Hairy Ape is another story that reveals more about social and cultural realities. This is quite evident in Firemen and Yank’s residence, which is conveyed as a formidable cage.
This place contrasts Mildred’s environment. Several symbolisms are used in this story, these include Steel, Apes, Thinkers, among others. The paper therefore exposes deterioration of civilized individuals into an animalistic being. This is observed in their lifestyles. For instance, Yank thinks he is an Ape. Apes have been used as a representation of symbolism in this story, the Hairy Ape.
This can be seen throughout the story. In fact, Apes appears almost in every part of this story. Yank is referred to as an Ape and this makes him think he really is an Ape. He goes on to inform people that he is an Ape, which makes it quite interesting. Similarly, Mildred also thinks she is an Ape, which continues to emphasize on its use as a symbolism throughout the novel.
According to Senator Queen, American civilization is degenerating back to Apes, with a reflection of true Ape in Scene 8. In addition, Queen attributes this to Wobblies that characterize American population. In this context, Ape is used to symbolize man, who at this state does not need technology. The Ape is also used to represent man who is behind in technological advances, class, and elements of the contemporary society. In this sense, Ape’s main concern is survival.
Yank is continually linked with his relatives who were considered as primates. In fact, just like the Apes, Yank struggles to think and is majorly concerned with ways of survival.
In addition, his understanding is at its lowest since he does not comprehend the class system that exists in his surroundings. Moreover, his language is also the lowest and basic, at best. Yank is also territorial and obstinate; these descriptions also match male Apes. Another similarity that can be drawn from Yank and Apes is the fact that they are both aggressive and bull headed.
From these descriptions, it is clear that Ape is used to symbolize backwardness in light of civilization. It has also been employed to symbolize the need to think beyond survival. This is observed in Yank’s way of life, which only focuses on survival in his setting. Moreover, the setting is also described as a cage. In essence, Ape has been applied throughout this story as a symbolism.
This novel starts in a school setting where the author tries to introduce his character Charles and Emma as well as their behaviors. The novel also conveys varied symbols such as “The Blind Beggar”, “Dried Flowers”, and “The Lathe”, among others.
These have several meanings and messages conveyed by those symbolisms. One clear symbolism portrayed in this novel is the portrait of physical decay. The Blind beggar is seen to follow Emma’s carriage, as she moves to meet Leon.
This is used to show moral imbalance on Emma’s side. The beggar’s songs also symbolize despair in his movement towards Emma’s carriage. The songs are about birds, green leaves, as well as sunshine. Another observation that comes out clearly is the fact that innocence has been intertwined with diseases to symbolize Emma’s combination of beauty and moral corruption.
Even though Emma can be seen as a beautiful wife and innocent, her spirit is conveyed as corrupt and foul. This is quite evident in her way of life. She indulges in temptations of adultery and continues in deceit to keep hold of her illicit affair. Much later, after Emma dies, the beggar finishes his song by speaking about a dreaming girl.
It is at this moment that a reader realizes the kind of songs sung by this beggar, songs with emphasis on bawdy and romance. Clearly, the beggar mirrors Emma’s life from innocence, through to her life, which is full of degradation and illicit affairs.
It is quite important to note that this beggar is blind. Therefore for a blind person to mirror a normal human being in his son, symbolizes the extent of actions committed by Emma. She begins her life as an innocent wife, taking good care of her husband, with a beauty that flourishes in her youth.
Later on, she gets corrupt and immersed in adultery, which degrades her even though only the opposite can be seen by her observers. In addition, she is quite deceptive and does this to cling on to an illicit affair. In essence, the beggar standout as a symbolism throughout the story as he mirrors Emma’s life and gives an observer the level of degradation Emma has gone into.
Symbolism is used throughout these three novels. In the first case, Symbolism is conveyed in the form of Cherry Orchard, which is heavily presented throughout the play. Almost everything revolves around this crop. The Cherry Orchard is presented as a huge gigantic tree in Russia and is estimated to produce over 4 million pounds of cherries from one crop.
It is quite amazing that with such amount of cherries, Ranevsky cannot be economically sustained. In the second story, symbolism is applied by referring to Yank as an Ape. The Ape is used to represent man who is behind in technological advances, class, and elements of the contemporary society.
In essence, Ape’s main concern is survival. Yank is continually linked with his relatives who were considered primates. In fact, just like the Apes, Yank struggles to think and is majorly concerned with ways of survival.
In addition, his understanding is at its lowest since he does not comprehend the class system that exists in his surroundings. Moreover, his language is also the lowest and basic, at best. Lastly, symbolism is also used in the third novel, “Madame Bovary”.
In this novel, the beggar is used to mirror Emma’s lifestyle, which moves from innocence as seen in her beauty to corruption of mind and soul as she indulges in temptations of adultery and continues in deceit to keep hold of her illicit affair. In essence, symbols are used to represent concepts and ideas as represented in characters, colors, and objects, among others.
“Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle. Summary and Symbolism Analysis Essay
Joyas Voladoras Essay: Introduction
The “Joyas Voladoras” essay by Brian Doyle speaks of hummingbirds and hearts, the life of whales, and the life of man. That’s a profound reflection on life, death, and the experiences in between. In other words, the essay examines the similarity of every creature on Earth. In this paper, I make an analysis of the piece of literature, describe its main ideas, identify the author’s purpose, and share my impressions about Joyas Voladoras.
When reading the essay, one cannot help but be immersed in the distinct imagery created by the writer. In Joyas Voladoras, Brian Doyle elaborates on the fierceness of life embodied in hummingbirds and creates a sharp image of a small beating heart for the reader, a heart producing billion heartbeats infinitesimally but strongly, faster even than our own.
He elaborates both scientifically and metaphorically. At the same time, he structures this particular piece of prose in such a way that people who read it should not concentrate on the scientific, for that is all that they will see. Instead, they should examine the essay in terms of the metaphoric.
After literary analysis it is clear that “Joyas Voladoras” is filled with metaphorical symbolism. Let’s take as an example the following phrase in one of the paragraphs: “the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs.” While scientific in appearance, it is a metaphor for love in which the essay states that people with love in their hearts are never alone.
Even references made by Doyle to the Hummingbird are another metaphoric symbolism of the abruptness of love and the value which we should place on it. Basing on the various metaphorical symbols seen throughout Joyas Voladoras, one can say that the text symbolizes different kinds of love in the world and the way they are experienced.
The Symbolism of Brian Doyle’s Hummingbird
If one would pose a question of how to interpret the different animals portrayed in “Joyas Voladoras” essay as various aspects of love, then the Doyle’s Hummingbird could be symbolic of the concept of Eros or “erotic love.” This type of love is more commonly associated with the first stages of a relationship wherein love is based on physical traits, intense passion, and sudden affection. The intensity of the Hummingbird’s beating heart is symbolic of the passionate energy of love based on Eros.
The description of a “flying jewel” attributed to the Hummingbird is similar to how the love, based on Eros, is considered to be flashy and noticeable. Identical to a hummingbird love based on Eros alone does not last, it burns brightly just like the life of a hummingbird yet in a short time fizzles out.
Brian Doyle’s “Joyas Voladoras” has the purpose to state that this particular love is the worst kind to have since he symbolizes the people who are addicted to this type of love as experiencing emotional turmoil and heartache, as expressed by the heart of the Hummingbird slowing down when it comes to rest.
The line “if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be” is actually symbolic of the way in which people who prefer Eros love are actually addicted to the concept of loving and being loved forever moving from lover to lover, just like a hummingbird moves from flower to flower.
Joyas Voladoras: The symbolism of the Whale
The symbolic nature of the Whale as a type of love for Doyle takes the form of Philos, namely a kind of love which is based on the friendship between two people. While the phrase “the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs” is indicative of Philos love, other aspects of this particular type of love are also apparent.
An analysis of the type of grammar used by Doyle in describing the Hummingbird and the Whale shows that, for the Hummingbird, Doyle uses action gerund words which utilize the word “and” rather than a comma.
The result of such grammatical usage is thus an almost breathless mannerism in which readers read the parts detailing the life of a hummingbird. This is symbolic of the breathless nature of erotic love wherein those who ascribe to it find themselves flitting from action to action without heed or care.
On the other hand, when describing the blue Whale, Doyle utilizes exceedingly long sentences and traditional words interspaced with commas, which have the effect of slowing down the reader. This is intentional on the part of the author since Philo’s type of love is a form of love that begins after a long and prosperous friendship.
It is a type of love that builds up over time, creating strong affection, emotions, and a feeling of longing to be with that person. The nature of the size of whale hearts is symbolic of the intense emotions and love that build up over time, resulting in a type of relationship where two people stay together for a lifetime.
Joyas Voladoras: Summary
What is the main idea of “Joyas Voladoras”? Based on what has been presented in this paper, it can be seen that one aspect of the essay “Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle is that it uses symbolism to express the concepts of Eros and Philos. While the paper possess other forms of symbolism, these particular aspects were chosen since they help to relay the message of the author that there are different types of love out there, each having its unique characteristics.
In summary, it is due to viewing the essay in this particular way that the continuous use of the word “heart” can thus be interpreted as symbolic of people continuously searching for love with the author warning in the ending of the possible pain that comes with this search.
Biblical Allusions and Symbolism in Billy Budd – Analysis
Melville in this novel brings out two strong opposing forces between the good and the evil and how the human race has continuously failed to make the right decision because of the fallen state of humanity (Novel Guide 1). He represents Billy as pure and innocent person similar to the way that Jesus is depicted in the bible.
Claggart on the other hand is a man who symbolically represents the serpent that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Captain Vere represents a person who is in a fallen state (Smith 1). This essay is a short summary describing how Christian symbolism is used in the story Billy Budd.
Christian Symbolism in Billy Budd
Billy is honest and everyone likes him and enjoys his presence. In Christianity, this represents the innocent Lamb of God who is Jesus Christ. Captain says that the ship crew stopped arguing when they saw Billy and they viewed him as a peace maker. This is a reflection of Christ as the prince of peace. Billy is confronted with temptation but just like Christ he overcame all the trials (Novel Guide 1).
Billy clearly is not frightened of death. The priest tried to convince him about a frightening death but that does not frighten him since he feels that he has nothing to fear. This scenario is similar to the time when Jesus was being accused by the chief priests. Though Jesus was accused by synagogue elders, this did not frighten him. He felt that he was innocent and he was only obeying the law of God (Book Rags 1).
Billy is a martyr who puts his life to an end for the sake of others in the ship. Despite Billy’s innocence, he willingly died to cleanse the ship. Moreover, he blessed the same man that convicted him. Jesus also willingly died on the cross to cleanse the sins of any person who looks up on Him. He also blessed those who convicted him and asked his father to forgive them for they did not know what they were doing (Book Rags 1).
Billy is hanged from the middle mast of the ship contrary to normality. Normally people were hanged on other masts of the ship. This is similar to the way that Jesus was crucified on the middle cross. Moreover, after Billy’s death, sailors blessed the yard-arm from which he was hanged on and it was retained for years. Similarly, some Christians think that the pieces of cross that crucified Jesus are holy.
Captain Vere is forced to allow Claggart to win by executing Billy as he falsely accused him of planning to commit mutiny. In the Bible, the governor (Pilate) did not want to execute Jesus as he knew that Jesus was innocent but due to the pressure from Chief priest and elders, he had him executed. This execution is unjust. Captain Vere insisted that the matter was out of his hands in the same way that Pilate washed his hands to absolve himself of any blame (Izubachi 3).
The poem that was composed by one of shipmates in honor of Billy’s death is a clear reference to last super that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before his death. A part of the poem reads: “sure, a messmate will reach me the last parting cup,” (Izubachi 3)
However, Melville was careful not to mislead people about Billy as a representative of Christ. In the novel, it is very clear that Billy’s death has no significance for the human race; Christ’s death on the other hand is very significant as it is from his death that the human race is cleansed. Furthermore, there is no resurrection after Billy’s death (Books Stove 1).
Melville has made use of Christian symbolism to represent good, evil and the fallen state of man. Billy who is innocent as he lacks knowledge of what is good or evil represents Christ. Claggart represents the evil nature of Satan. Captain Vere represents the human race that always wants to do well but because of its fallen state it becomes hard.
Book Rags. Billy Budd Notes: Religion. Book Rags, 2011. Web.
Books Stove. Religious and political themes in Billy Budd, Sailor. Books stove, 2011. Web.
Izubachi, Bruce. Billy Budd and Biblical allusions. Everything, 2003. Web.
Novel Guide. Billy Budd: Metaphor Analysis. Novel Guide, 2011. Web.
Smith, Nicole. Symbolism in “Billy Budd, Sailor” by Herman Melville. Article Myriad, 2010. Web.
Symbolism in “The Birthmark” & “The Minister’s Black Veil” Essay
In both The Minister’s Black veil and The Birthmark, Hawthorne’s use symbolism of symbolism is conspicuous. In The Birthmark he says, “The crimson hand expressed the ineludible gripe in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of earthly mould… symbol of his wife’s liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death” (Hawthorne Para. 9). Hawthorne makes it clear that he is using birthmark as a symbol of ‘mortality’, ‘decay’ and susceptibility to sin.
On the other side, in The Minister’s Black Veil, he says, “All through life the black veil had hung between him and the world. It had separated him from cheerful brotherhood and woman’s love…shade him from the sunshine of eternity” (Hawthorne Para. 12). The black veil here symbolizes the sin that the minister had committed with the dead mistress; that is, sex.
Symbolism in these two stories touches on human failures and sinful nature. The birthmark is a sign of Georgina’s susceptibility to sin, sorrow, and mortality. As aforementioned, this birthmark shows Georgina’s indebtedness to sin and her eventual death. Men constantly found Georgian attractive because of her birthmark. “Georgiana’s lovers were wont to say that…as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection” (Hawthorne Para. 6).
This statement makes it clear that the birthmark symbolized Georgina’s indebtedness to sin. She had ‘lovers’ and this is sinful. On the other side, the black veil worn by the minister is a symbol of his sins. Critics like Alan Poe say that, “Minister Hooper may have had an affair with the young lady who died at the beginning of the story.
Coincidentally, this is the first day he wears the veil, “and that a crime of dark dye, (having reference to the young lady) has been committed, is a point which only minds congenial with that of the author will perceive” (Poe 188). Not even the dead maiden can stand the face of the minister for she would be “fearful of her glance” (Hawthorne Para. 16).
This means that there is connection between the black veil and the dead maiden and the most probably thing that could link the minister to the dead maiden is having sex which is sinful. Therefore, symbolism in these two stories stands for human indebtedness to sin.
While symbolism in The Birthmark comes out clearly, in The Minister’s Black Veil, use of symbolism is ambiguous. Hawthorne makes it clear that Georgina’s birthmark is selected as a ‘symbol’ to show her indebtedness to sin.
However, the symbolism of the black veil worn by the minister represents “symbol of symbols”. “The Minister’s Black Veil introduced the notion that Hooper’s black veil functioned as a “symbol of symbols,” since its meaning could never be ultimately determined” (Carnochan 9).
Therefore, the contrasting feature of symbolism as used in these two stories comes out clearly, by considering the preciseness of the meaning of the symbols used. Birthmark clearly represents Georgina’s indebtedness to sin; however, the black veil may mean anything depending on the view of the reader.
Hawthorne’s use of symbolism comes out clearly in The Minister’s Black Veil and The Birthmark. Georgina’s birthmark is a sign of her obligation to sin; she had lovers who admired her because of the birthmark, which is sinful. Moreover, her husband points that the birthmark shows her earthly imperfection. The black veil worn by the minister symbolizes his sins; he had an affair with the dead maiden.
However, while the meaning of the birthmark comes out clearly, the black veil worn by the minister may mean, symbol of symbols”. The use of black veil as ‘symbol of symbols’ indicates ambiguity of the same; the only contrasting feature in the use of symbolism in these two stories.
Carnochan, Winston. “The Minister’s Black Veil: Symbol, Meaning, and the Context of Hawthorne’s Art.” New York; California University Press, 1969.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birthmark.” The Literature Network. 2010. Web. <http://www.online-literature.com/london/125/>
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Minister’s Black Veil.” The Literature Network. 2010. Web. <http://www.online-literature.com/london/126/>
Poe, Allan. “The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe: Nathaniel Hawthorne.” Griswold, Rufus. Ed. New York: Blakeman & Mason, 1859.
The Yellow Wallpaper: Symbolism Essay Essay
This argumentative essay focuses on “The Yellow Wallpaper” short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It examines how the description of the paper reflects the narrator’s changing character.
The Description of the Paper & the Narrator’s Changing Character
The yellow paper description reveals how women were determined to defy the powers that were imposed on them by men and hence create new roles for themselves. Women, therefore, challenged the patriarchal ideologies and moved beyond the restrictions to free from enslavement.
The yellow paper thus shows women’s relentless pursuit to gain freedom in society did not value the role of women. The description of the yellow paper shows the life of a girl who was eager and ready to read books to get ideas on how she can free from slavery in a male-dominated society. The description thus reflects how the narrator was desperate to read at times when women were not allowed to read any book (Golden and Gilman 3).
More on the Topic Why Did John Faint in The Yellow Wallpaper? What Event Caused the Narrator’s Mental Illness in The Yellow Wallpaper? How Does The Yellow Wallpaper End? What Are the Examples of Foreshadowing in The Yellow Wallpaper? What Happens at the End of The Yellow Wallpaper? What Does the Narrator’s Description of the Wallpaper Reveal about the Context of the Story?
The yellow paper also shows how women suffered as a result of reading privately. The story thus portrays the transformative reading potential in that had the narrator failed to realize that the reading has the potential to transform her. The other women in the society could remain in slavery in their entire life. The reading transformed the narrator in that she started being sensitive that she started to realize that the room in which she was being locked in had one window only.
The narrator began to view the house from a different perspective, and she says that “there is something strange about the house.” She hated the room, and she could explain the kind of her desired one. A room with pizza and roses is what she tells she desires. The yellow paper thus reflects the narrator’s changing character in that her eyes were open, and she began dreaming of better things in her life. She began to challenge John’s ideas concerning the room.
The narrator gained courage over time to express her ideas in writing. Even though John would think the writing idea as absurd, the narrator was determined to express her feelings. The narrator wished that John could allow her to leave that place. The issue of talking to John was not that easy, but the narrator eventually expressed her feelings.
Further Research What Does The Yellow Wallpaper’s Conclusion Mean? What Happens at the End of The Yellow Wallpaper? What Is the Main Conflict in The Yellow Wallpaper? In The Yellow Wallpaper, Why Is the Main Character Spending Time at the Colonial Mansion? What Are the Best Examples of Figurative Language in The Yellow Wallpaper? Why Does the Narrator First Dislike the Yellow Wallpaper?
The yellow paper reflects the narrators changing character in that life eventually turned out to be more exciting than before. As a result, her determination to read and flee herself, the narrator was successful in her mission. She was able to overcome oppression. The narrator’s hope for a better tomorrow was restored, and she had something in which to expect. She was in a position to feed for herself well, and she lived a quiet life as opposed to before.
The yellow paper enabled the narrator to discover something which she never knew before. She discovered that women possess equal power as men, and so, to be recognized in society, women must stand up and fight for their rights (Gilman 7).
The description of the yellow paper reflects the narrator’s changing character. The yellow paper helped to transform the narrator in that she was able to establish her rightful role in society.
Gilman, Charlotte. The Yellow Wallpaper, this edition. London: Routledge, 1997.
Golden, Catherine & Gilman, Charlotte. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Yellow Wallpaper: a sourcebook and critical edition. London: Routledge, 2004.
“A Rose for Emily” Symbolism and Themes – Analysis Essay
This essay analyzes “A Rose for Emily”, its symbolism,main themes, messages, and tone. As the plot of the southern gothic story unfolds, the author uses certain symbols to show us the tragedy of human perishability.
“A Rose for Emily”: Themes & Historical Context
The end of the Civil War in 1865 brought many changes to the states of the South. The Old South, with its agrarian-based economy, and its residents were facing a dilemma. Should they adapt to these changes or try to continue with their social order and economy model? This time of changes is when the story takes place. Jefferson, Mississippi, is the setting of “A Rose for Emily”. Almost all of the townspeople there have decided to adapt to the changes except for one resident Emily Grierson, who dislikes the New South and refuses to get used to the new way of life.
Emily’s refusal to accept this new reality means that she clings to the social conventions which no longer exist, isolating herself from both the townspeople of Jefferson and their new lifestyle. This isolation reflects the main theme of “A Rose for Emily” – that is the necessity to adapt to changes brought upon us. From my point of view, Emily represents the reluctance to changes typical for some parts of the American society of that time. W.Faulkner effectively uses the events surrounding the main character to emphasize his message of adaptation that is necessary for us all and additionally introduces some vivid symbols in “A Rose for Emily” to describe her motivations and emotions behind her actions.
Stability and resistance to change are the main features of Ms Grierson’s character that develop during her younger years and that define her attitudes during her whole life. The only leaders Emily recognizes are the once-and-forever established authorities of her father and Colonel Sartoris.
Even after their death, Emily continues to insist on their existence. She does not recognize the fact that her father is not alive any longer, and she refers to the tax committee to the long-deceased Colonel Sartoris, who once relieved her of city taxes (Faulkner). Living in the past, Emily denies the present and the innovations it brings. Her mansion is the only building in the city that does not have “the metal numbers above her door and … a mailbox” (Faulkner).
Moreover, it is the only old house in the neighborhood that has become obliterated and turned into “an eyesore among eyesores,” a ridiculous monument to the past colonial grandeur. It is noteworthy, however, that Miss Grierson’s commitment to the old ideals is not accidental and is dictated by the conditions of her life and upbringing.
Raised in arrogance to the rest of the society, Emily Grierson transfers it to every aspect of her life. She ignores the demands to pay taxes, the glances at her butler, as well as the gossip of her entering a relationship with a stranger. Miss Grierson preserves her initial traditions and way of life by distancing herself from the rest of the townspeople.
As a result of her secluded life, there emerges a paradox: on the one hand, Emily Grierson refuses to accept the new lifestyle. On the other hand, she adapts to the new life conditions while dissociating herself from the Jefferson society. After some attempts to appear in public with her suitor or to give china-painting lessons, Emily chooses a secluded lifestyle and locks herself up in her house.
She becomes a living symbol of Jefferson, “motionless as … an idol” and barely ever speaking to anybody (Faulkner). Despite all the effort to save her lifestyle intact, Emily fails in her undertaking since she is mortal as any living being, and all the symbols of her past that surround her in daily life are equally perishable.
Conflict & Symbols in “A Rose for Emily”
The opposition between Miss Grierson’s desire for stability and the inexorable course of history frames up the fundamental conflict of “A Rose for Emily”. Symbolism is used by the author to immerse the reader in this conflict. . To emphasize Emily’s belonging to the Pre-Civil War South, William Faulkner surrounds her by objects that represent that past.
The first and foremost symbol of Miss Grierson’s époque is the place she lives in: “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” situated in the once “most select street” (Faulkner). The splendor of the mansion was almost unsurpassed in its better days, with endless fashionable objects filling its rooms. However, the once-grand place is subject to the inexorable course of time and shows visible signs of decay.
One of the most powerful symbols in “A Rose for Emily” is the image of dust that fills the house: not only does dust rise from the old leather furniture when visitors sit on it, but it also defines the smell of the house and its very atmosphere (Faulkner).
Symbolic of the memories and regrets, the dust appears throughout the whole story, acquiring a special significance in the scenes of Miss Emily’s death and the discovery of her suitor’s corpse in the house . In the short story, dust throws a dense veil concealing the mysteries of the Griersons family.
Faulkner employs bitter irony to describe the pitiful state of the Griersons’ mansion. Its only neighbors are now not the estates of the same grandeur but simple “cotton wagons and gasoline pumps” ― symbolic of new life and new values — indifferent to the majestic culture of the old society. This miserable decay prompts an idea that the whole past splendor was not due to the owners themselves but due to the everyday slave labor, which, once eliminated, left the house to sink into the past.
What does Homer symbolize in A Rose for Emily? The character of the Negro butler reminds of the Pre-Civil War époque and its slaveholding system that supported the existence of the wealthy white upper class. Faulkner introduces this image to enhance the museum-like state of the Griersons’ mansion. The old Negro butler works hard for the Griersons throughout his life and performs a range of entirely unnecessary tasks. He shows the visitors in and out of the house and then opens the blinds to let some light into the house.
Although Emily could have easily coped with those tasks herself, she prefers to keep the Negro butler as a way of emphasizing her high social status the way it was appropriate in her Pre-Civil War youth. Along with performing purely formal duties, the Negro butler constantly reappears with a market basket, which suggests that he is also in charge of the practical aspects of Miss Grierson’s household.
A notable occurrence in this respect is the complaint of the city dwellers concerning the peculiar smell from the Griersons’ mansion: “Just as if a man — any man — could keep a kitchen properly,” the ladies said; so they were not surprised when the smell developed” (Faulkner).
But even though a woman would be more suitable for running the house, Miss Grierson would not replace the Negro butler who is as much of a tradition in her life as she is in the life of the whole city.
On no occasion can he leave his owner, and therefore he grows gray and “doddering” and disappears from the house only with Miss Grierson’s death (Faulkner). Symbolic of Miss Grierson’s commitment to past ideals, the Negro butler is the part of her mystery, which he never reveals.
To further emphasize Miss Grierson’s striking adherence to the values of the Pre-Civil War époque, William Faulkner introduces the reader to the enormous influence of her father. He oppressed and dominated her when he was alive. He still spreads his authority on her life even after he passes away.
After his death (which Emily stubbornly refuses to admit), his crayon portrait is one of the main focal points in the parlor: “On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily’s father” as if overseeing and controlling all the events (Faulkner).
The dominance of Miss Emily’s father over her is clearly shown in the way they are described. “Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip” (Faulkner).
Therefore, it is not accidental that she chooses her only suitor according to his looks that coincide with the way the Griersons are depicted, “his hat cocked and a cigar in his teeth, reins and whip in a yellow glove “(Faulkner).
This action serves as an evidence of how arrogant the Griersons’ attitude to the surrounding society is and how eager Miss Grierson is to show the distance between herself and the community if she makes such a risky choice of a partner. Thus, additional emphasis is placed on the abyss dividing Miss Grierson and the Jefferson townsmen, the past and the present.
The dramatic changes take place without Miss Grierson: she remains the same self-willed woman throughout the whole story. However, despite the apparent stability in Miss Grierson’s character, an individual evolution can be traced in her through the symbolic image of her hair.
The first change in her hairstyle comes after her father’s death: “her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl” (Faulkner). By cutting her hair and thus recovering her youthful looks, Miss Grierson probably attempts to emphasize her girlish nature and her devotedness to her father. Over time, she grows older, and her hair becomes gray. This decay reflects the overall decay of the mansion and thus of the ideals that its inhabitants cherish. It becomes one of the most vivid symbol in “A Rose for Emily”.
Besides, the “long strand of iron-gray hair” found at the dead body of Miss Grierson’s suitor emphasizes the fact that although her body is decayed, her spirit remains strong enough to insist on her way of behavior (Faulkner). Thus a discrepancy comes to the fore between the aspirations of happiness and the inevitability of withering away with the time.
In “A Rose for Emily,” the theme of adapting to the changing environment is developed through the character of Miss Grierson and her reluctance to the changes.
In summary, the evolution can still be traced through the symbolic images of her mansion, her Negro butler, and her hair. Those images demonstrate that although Miss Grierson wishes to stick to the past, it is impossible due to the natural processes of decay and lavishing. As shown in this essay, symbolism in “A Rose for Emily” reveals the tragedy of human perishability.