A Rose For Emily Essay

788 words - 4 pages

A Rose for Emily

A symbol is a person, character or a object in a story used to represent an idea. In the short story, A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, the symbols reinforce the themes of tradition vs. progress, decay and the passage of time, and love that is not returned. Emily Grierson, her father, Colonel Grierson and Colonel Sartoris, now deceased, represent the Old South. They contrast with the new middle class that is represented by the new Board of Alderman, coming to collect disputed taxes. Homer Barron also symbolizes change and the middle class of society. The themes of change and decay are seen through Emily's stubborn ways and her deteriorating mental and physical ...view middle of the document...

"It [the parlor] was furnished in heavy, leather -covered furniture. . . .they could see that the leather was cracked; and when they sat down, a faint dust rose sluggishly about their thigh. . ."(p. 27)

There was even a "tarnished gilt easel" before the fireplace that supported a crayon drawing of Miss Emily's father. This large portrait means that Colonel Grierson's presence is still in Emily's life; and the dull gilt easel reflects Emily's tarnished appearance. Emily's father did not permit her to date, for he thought no one was good enough for his baby girl. He remains the only loving man in her life, but he took away all chance of happiness from Emily after he died. Emily clings to him, even in death, by not burying him immediately. Her father's death deprives Emily of love, family, protection and companionship, which marriage could have provided Emily.

Even Emily's cane has a "tarnished gold head," (p. 27). She is described as a dead-like figure: "Her skeleton was small and spare". . . "She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another…" (p. 27). She has the ability to stare down the tax collectors and...

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