Imagery in Faulkner’s Story “a Rose for Emily”

Topics: Mississippi, A Rose for Emily, Barn Burning Pages: 3 (997 words) Published: November 29, 2005
In order to understand William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” you need to know a little bit about the author. Most of his novels take place in the state of Mississippi with colorful history and richly varied population. The frequent theme in his novels is the abuse of black people by Southern whites. “A Rose for Emily” takes place in the late 1800s in Mississippi after the civil war. The main character is Emily, who comes from wealthy background, but at the time of the story her family has lost its fortune. Faulkner uses a great deal of visual imagery that can illuminate Emily’s life. The author suggests that her father is a dominant character who does not allow his daughter to behave a certain way that would compromise their good name, and through these images one can see why these events lead the main character to a tragic end. In the very beginning the author describes the house where Emily resides. Faulkner writes, “It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style, set on what had once been our most select street” (1). He suggests that the family used to be wealthy and probably had slaves, but since the story occurs after the civil war Emily’s family freed their slaves and eventually lost their capital. The family consists of black servant, Emily and her father, whom the author suggests live in the past. Her father doesn’t’ allow her to get married because “None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such”(3), and one can infer that even though the family is poor they still think highly of their name. Emily turns thirty and she is still not married, though she is extremely attached to her father. The day that he dies Emily acts as if nothing has happened, telling the townspeople “that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to dispose of the body” (3)....

Cited: Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily” English course packet. New York: Brooklyn College, 2005
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