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"A Rose For Emily" (Faulkner) Or Something More? Talks Of Symbolism

1469 words - 6 pages

A symbol is a person, object, or event that suggests more than its literal meaning. In the story 'A Rose for Emily,' the symbolism shows more about the character than is detailed by the author, William Faulkner. Symbolism helps to indicate several things in the story: how Ms. Emily was once innocent but later changes, how her hair and some other items helped to show her resistance to change, how the room where Homer died shows that she loved Homer and her desire to stop change, how Homer's name and actions suggest that he is a homosexual, and how she could not get away from her father's control even after his death.First, Ms. Emily used to white wear dresses, which symbolize innocence, but ...view middle of the document...

' (Bedford 47)According to Ray West it was shown through the use of the words 'stubborn and coquettish' Also he states that the description of the interior illustrates Emily's decay.''They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse - a close, dank smell.' In the next paragraph a description of Emily discloses her similarity to the house: 'She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue.'' (West 149)Another use of symbolism is in the description of Ms. Emily's hair as she grows older. After her father dies she cuts it short, and the townspeople say it is sort of angelic. This symbolizes her belief that she is finally free of her father's control over her, because she probably would not get that style of hair cut had her father been there to influence her. Another instance is in her later years her hair becomes iron-gray. The iron in 'iron-gray' symbolizes her stubbornness and strong will, because iron is a very strong element and it is mentioned several times throughout the story. Ray West makes a good point on the letter that she sends to the mayor. ''a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink,'' (49).This suggests that she never changed her style of writing or the paper on which she used to write. Melinda Schwab states, 'Her desire to keep her life from changing is further evidenced by her reluctance to have her father's body removed and buried and by her refusal to allow street numbers to be attached to the door of her beloved family home,' (215).Next is the use of color to symbolize her love for Homer Barron and her desire to keep things the same. After Emily's death, many of the people in the town brake into one of the locked rooms and discover that most of the room and its objects were red. Red is usually the symbol of love. Also, the way in which Homer's body was found symbolizes her love for him. She must have cared for him because she took the time to undress him, put him in his night shirt, and lay him on the bed. If she had just wanted him dead and not to be with him she probably would have had her servant dispose of the body. Also if she had allowed him to leave her there would be dramatic changes in her life such as the town pitying her even more.'The view of Emily as a monument would have been destroyed. Emily might have become the object of continued gossip, but she would have become susceptible to the town's pity - therefore, human. Emily's world, however, continues to be the Past(in its extreme form it is death), and when she is threatened with desertion and disgrace, she not only takes refuge in that...

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