Rose For Emily Essay, Research Paper
Eng 112 sec 051
Mr. Larry Johnson
In a ?A Rose for Emily? the author, William Faulkner, symbolizes the state of the post civil war south in the story of Miss Emily Grieson. This leads Miss Emily to be the center of the tale, a woman sheltered by her father as a girl and betrayed by her lover as a woman. The setting for ?A Rose for Miss Emily? is in a post civil war era in the town of Jefferson, an imaginary town used by Faulkner in his stories, a south becoming aware of its role in a nation. In a way the whole story is symbolic of change in the town?s life, or the south, through out Miss Emily?s life. The symbolism in the decaying house coincides with the emotional and physical status of Miss Emily; the house needs the love and care it never gets; so does Miss Emily throughout her childhood and her adult life. The relation can be shown by the various use of symbolism set in the story by Faulkner; as an example, the house used to be in a good neighborhood which has decayed, as in Faulkner?s words ? It was a big squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires? ( 75), and then the vivid transformation of the house to ? coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps- an eyesore among eyesores? (75). The narrator being unknown to us, who is assumed to be the town, gives a sense of grandeur to Miss Emily, as if she were one of the town?s monuments, something beautiful and worth caring for. ? Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care? ( 75), which gives Miss Emily a sense of beauty –? Miss Emily a slender figure in white? (77), which in turn decays into being obese and bloated– ? she looked fat and bloated like a body long submerged in motionless water? ( 75). The fall of Miss Emily is symbolized through her relation with Homer Barron, who in a way is replacing her father. For when Homer was about to leave, Miss Emily killed him to hold on to the forbidden, which her father never allowed her to have. This in a way symbolizes the conditions of the south in that time period, Homer being ? a Northerner, a day laborer? ( 77), characteristics that were not appreciated by the south at that time. The society is locked up to progress, and stuck in the old ways, as is Miss Emily who shuts herself from the world around her and doesn?t want any contact with it. When the town saw her, a while after her father?s death, she was described as ?sort of tragic and serene? (77), which represents the condition of the south at that time, and even when the modern times were coming around and a ?newer generation became the backbone and the spirit of the town? (79), the south, or Miss Emily, remained the same, locking herself in the past: ? the front door closed upon the last one[painting student] and remained closed for good? (79). Miss Emily wouldn?t even allow the smallest changes to occur, such as putting metal numbers on her door. Miss Emily?s ?Negro? servant grew ? grayer and more stooped? (79), aging with her in the old southern setting. Miss Emily?s ways would end with her death, symbolized by ? the house filled with dust and shadows? (79), and by the Negro never to be seen again after her death as? he walked right through the house and out the back and was not seen again? ( 80). This symbolizes the south?s old way of living dying, and a new way of thinking emerging. The crowd that came to Miss Emily?s funeral in their– ? Confederate uniforms? and gathered speaking of Miss Emily as part of the past, which they are still part of. The final act of symbolizing the south was Miss Emily?s old gray hair found beside what was presumed to be the decaying body of Homer Barron; Miss Emily tried to keep her love from escaping her, in a way capturing the old ways of life which brought about her end, and gave way to a new era, as the south was locked into the old ways of slavery and conservatism, which died off.
? A Rose for Miss Emily? symbolizes the decay of the south and its transformation into the new generation, and how the old ways were held on to, yet finally had to die. It is elaborately symbolized through the relationship between Miss Emily and her father, Homer, and the town. Miss Emily (the south) lacked affection and care, yet was held as a monument, a symbol of beauty and heritage. She like the south does not want to adjust to the newer ways of the world, which is viewed by all the towns people, and criticized or sympathized with for what the south or Miss Emily has been through. One could even go so far as to say that the death of Miss Emily?s father symbolizes the defeat of the south and Miss Emily?s not wanting to let go of it, not believing that it has died, denying her father?s death, or in this case that the south has been defeated. All of which put the south in a state of disbelief mixed with sorrow, which leads to the start of the degeneration of the south and Miss Emily.