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The story of “A Rose for Emily” begins with a scene of a funeral when Miss Emily Grierson died. In your opinion, what does “A Rose” stand for?

Du Thi Minh Chau

Rose, Forever a Symbol of Love
William Faulkner was known as a prolific (sáng tác nhiều) writer of short stories. His first short story collection “These 13” (1932) includes many of his most acclaimed and most frequently anthologized stories, and also “A Rose for Emily”. “A Rose for Emily” recounts (kể chi tiết) the story of an eccentric (người lập dị) spinster (người phụ nu không chồng), Emily Grierson with the strange circumstances (hoàn cảnh) of her life and her odd (kỳ quặc) relationships with her father, and her lover. After her death, townspeople discovered that Emily killed her lover and slept with his corpse through years. Although readers can not find out any rose in this story, it was still named “A rose for Emily”. In my opinion, “a rose” stands for the love between Emily and her father, and her lover Homer Barron, and her Negro servant Tobe.

First of all, “a rose” is used as a symbol of the love between Emily and her father. Emily’s father loved her so much that he did not let her love any man. He had driven away all the young men that were in love with her. Maybe to Emily’s father, she was the most precious (quý) stone and a noble (quý tộc) lady that no men could deserve to be her husband. That made young beautiful Emily become a spinster when time went by. On the other hand, Emily also loved her father too much that she could not accept his death. Emily refused that “her father was not dead” and she did it for three days. Until the doctors “were about to resort to law and force”, she broke down and let them burry her father. She was so afraid of being alone that she could not let go of him. For this reason, “with nothing left, she would have to cling (bám) to that which had robbed her”. An odd love between father and daughter did spoil Emily’s life from her first days.

The second point, which is easy to see, is “a rose” stands for a couple’s love – Emily and her lover, Homer Barron. Firstly, this love could be considered as an one-way or unilateral (đơn phương) love from Emily to Homer. She met him after her father died and she did not have any moral support. Homer was also the first man that Miss Emily had a chance to love. As a result, she wanted to live with him forever. However, Homer did not because he was attracted to men and was not a marrying type. Secondly, Emily’s love was selfish and possessive. Although she knew that Homer did not love her and marry her, she still bought a suit, a night-shirt and a man’s toilet set in silver with the letters H. B. on each piece. She did anything to prove that they were getting married and also to cling Homer. Emily just knew that she loved him so that he had to live with her forever. That led to Homer’s death by arsenic which Emily bought from the druggist. Once more the blind love of Emily to her lover did spoil the following days of her poor life.

Finally, “a rose” is a mute love of the Negro servant, Tobe for Emily. Firstly, he took care of Emily until she died. After the death of Emily’s father, “the only sign of life about the place” was he, a young man then. The phrase “the Negro men went in and out with a market basket” was repeated as regualrly, slowly and even softly as his appearance throughout Emily’s life. Tobe did it day by day, month by month, year by year without saying a word so that “his voice had grown harsh and rusty, as if from disuse”. I myself think that Tobe might want to spend all his lifetime to take cae of her as well as to love her in mute. Therefore, it might be the reason why he did not leave Emily alone when her family situation fell down. Secondly, Tobe still took care of Emily after she died. This detail can be see clearly in “The Negro met the first of the ladies at the front door and let them in, …, and then he disappeared. He walked right through the house...
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