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Symbolism and Theme in “a Rose for Emily” Essay

  • Submitted by: Gogbori
  • on April 17, 2015
  • Category: English
  • Length: 689 words

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Below is an essay on "Symbolism and Theme in “a Rose for Emily”" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Symbolism and theme in “A Rose for Emily”
        In William Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily," a series of interconnected objects collectively represent a single theme as he presents the mysterious character Emily Grierson who is consistently called “Miss Emily.” While trying to avoid the changes that comes with time, Miss Emily isolates herself and lives in the illusive comfort of her past. As he discusses the theme of holding onto the past, Faulkner uses several symbols to show Emily’s resistance to changes, and in a broader sense presents the struggle that comes from trying to maintain tradition in the face of widespread, radical change.
      The protagonist’s living in the past is symbolized in her home, and her relationship with her father and her fiancé. Faulkner first presents the house which he uses to symbolize Emily’s ardent resistance to change. The personified house is a faded glory of its once decorated self, and even at a state of “Coquettish decay”, it still lifts itself stubbornly conspicuous and making it an eyesore of eyesores (Faulkner 34). Further into the story, the narrator explains how even though Emily's family no longer holds their prominence in the town, she still stubbornly behaves as if they did. The author intertwines many actions and objects, all pieces of symbolism pointing to the theme of holding on to the past. When the representatives of the board of aldermen go to her house, it smells of dust and disuse, and her chair was dusty (34), all these showed that there was no activity in there, and that everything was stagnant and stale. The dust symbolizes accumulation of unremoved past. When the town gets free postal delivery, she alone did not let the postal service workers put a number on her house; she resisted change so much that she does not even accept her letters because she has isolated herself from the present (39). She continues to live in her father’s house till her death. When her father dies, she shows no sign...

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