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Rose for Emily

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Symbolism in “A Rose For Emily”

Symbols are present in almost everything we read. In some cases they are used to mystify what the author is trying to get across. In other cases symbols can be just plain confusing. In William Faulkner’s short story, “A Rose For Emily,” symbols are abundant across the pages in this erie tale. Some symbols are obvious for their meanings and others are somewhat mind-boggling. Faulkner’s insertion of these plentiful symbols gives this story a deeper meaning and forces the reader to really think about this literature and question why the author would place such devices in the story.

One of the most obvious and present symbols in this short story is Emily’s house. It appears many times throughout the story and represents many symbolic points. It is easy to see that the house represents Emily herself. In the beginning, like Emily, the house had once been new and beautiful, “white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street.” With time, the house began to appear weathered and run down along with it’s tenant. It is described as “ an eyesore among eyesores.” The house did not fit in with the changing society and neither did Emily.

Near the end of Emily’s life she is seen less and less until one day she is never seen to leave the safe environment of her house. Eventually Emily’s spirit and heart became so tired and worn she shut herself off from the outside world. In doing so, “she had evidently shut up the top floor of her house.” Near the end of the story this action of Emily’s begins to make sense when the reader finds out that she had been keeping Homer’s dead body in her bedroom. She had left the man she had loved in the bedroom, and in doing so she had left her heart in the bedroom. In locking up the top half of he house, she had closed off her heart and soul to the rest of the world. This represented Emily...