Symbolism in "A Rose for Emily"

Topics: Symbol, Symbolism, English-language films Pages: 2 (586 words) Published: March 15, 2006
What Rose?
A symbol is something that represents or reflects a deeper meaning or concept. We see symbols every singe day. A flag, a peace sign, or even someone showing you there symbolic finger during rush hour traffic are all examples or symbolism. In William Faulkner's "A Rose For Emily", the symbolism he uses is somewhat subtle, however, it is very consistent. Throughout Faulkner's story he symbolizes a house, a painting, and even the story it's self is a symbol. At the very beginning of the story, when the narrator is describing the house in which Ms Emily lived, we get our first glimpse of symbolism. The way Faulkner describes the house, then and now, actually represents Ms Emily's life. The paint and color of the house represents Ms Emily's conscience. Earlier, the house is clean and white, pure. As time goes on the house becomes decrepit, and sullied, much like Ms Emily's conscience. The "select street" that she lives on in the earlier years, which later becomes infected and surrounded by cotton gins and garages, represents her place in society. While her father was alive, and sometime after he had passed, Ms Emily was considered high class. Suitors were deemed unworthy to claim her. As more and more tragedy strikes her life, people no longer envy, but pity Ms Emily. When Faulkner describes her house as "lifting it's stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton...", he is describing Ms Emily's unyielding personality. The painting that Faulkner describes of Ms Emily and her father is symbolic of the two's relationship with one another. Ms Emily's father was very demanding, and very strict. Faulkner symbolizes her father's fierceness by having him grasping a horsewhip in the picture. Her father's back is turned towards her, symbolizing his neglect and lack of attention to his daughter. Ms Emily is dressed in white, representing her innocence, which had not yet been lost at the time of the painting. Her father stands between her and the...
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