Symbolism in "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

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Abel Girma
Mr. Lucky
English Language and Literature IB Y1
04 September 2012
Word Count: 1087
The Consciousness of Symbolism in “A Rose For Emily”
“Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair” read the last lines of “A Rose for Emily”, a short story written by the American author and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner, published in 1931. These last words put a shocking and rather disturbing end to this piece depicting the strange life of Emily Grierson, and her obdurate refusal to adapt to changes in her life, living in her own non-transforming world. Various symbols are used throughout the text although Faulkner did not use any kind of conscious symbolism. The validity of this claim lies in his Nobel Prize in Literature acceptance speech, his biography and his interview on the meaning of “A rose for Emily”. Emily Grierson is portrayed as “A fallen monument” from the very beginning of the story as the narrator starts to describe the ceremonial procedures following her death. Soon after, her home, a “house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies.” (Section I of “A Rose for Emily) Is adjacently undermined as “an eyesore among eyesores ” (Section I of “A Rose for Emily), invaded by the deteriorating and industrialized neighborhood that used to be an illustriously reputed neighborhood in the 1970s. This is a fine example of symbolism used in the text as it gives an inkling of the stubbornness in which Emily, a southern woman has lived her life cleaved to the past and immersed in old southern traditions. Similarly, the “Rose” in “A Rose for Emily” is a thought-provoking symbol due to the fact that it is never mentioned throughout the totality of the story. The interpretations of the...
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