Death and Time in “A Rose for Emily”

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Death and Time in “A Rose for Emily”
In William Faulkner’s short story set in the old south after the civil war, “A Rose for Emily” Miss Emily’s inability to grieve properly, refusal to accept death as a reality, and denial of the passage of time is her character’s, biggest downfalls. One of the most noticeable symbols of time and the constant countdown to death in the story is Miss Emily’s pocket watch that she keeps hidden in the folds of her dress while speaking to the Board of Aldermen. Faulkner’s use of symbolism of death and time are evident in many sections of the short story as Miss Emily refuses to accept the passage of time and the many deaths around her (one her one time lover Homer Barron quite possibly of her own doing).
The pocket watch makes its debut when the Board of Aldermen arrives to speak to Miss Emily about her taxes. In the early years after her father’s death General Sartoris notified her that she was no longer required to pay taxes since the death of her father (the general lied and told her he had loaned the town money and that because of his generosity all future taxes were considered paid). The Board of Aldermen, part of a younger generation, did not agree with this and came to try to resolve the issue. The Board of Aldermen “could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the golden chain” (Roberts 90). The watch is invisible to the reader, but like time the watch is ever counting down to Miss Emily’s impending doom and ultimately her death. All of the symbols of time constantly countdown on Miss Emily’s diminishing grasp on reality and her death, this is why death and time are two constantly entangled symbols. Another symbol that is used by the town’s people to tell time in the story and the countdown to Miss Emily’s death is her ever changing hair.
The town’s people practice the telling of time by observing Miss Emily’s ever diminishing hair color. When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning

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