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A Rose for Emily

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Essay title: A Rose for Emily

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There are several ways to interpret the title that William Faulkner has provided his readers with, “A Rose For Emily.” Roses create complex webs of symbolism and connotations. The content and the narrative of the story, support the rose as a significant symbol in the story. Faulkner uses a voice outside of the story within the title to enhance the message behind the story of Emily Grierson. The title, “A Rose For Emily” has several possible interpretations that enhance the meaning of Faulkner’s work.

Faulkner symbolically uses the rose as a gesture, Emily giving her respect the town failed to offer her. The town was constantly posing as a nosey threat o Emily’s closed doors. Even into her death the narrative voice reveals the towns extreme nosiness. “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men though a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house (Faulkner 87).” At the beginning of the story Faulkner made it clear that the town was nosey even at her death. The title offers her something living and alive with beauty and a wonderful aroma. In the story she was only handed time that to her became “a huge meadow which no winter even quite touches (Faulkner 93),” She was dead at the day of her birth. As illustrated in the story, time was consuming Emily faster than she could die. Faulkner salutes Emily in his title by offering her a rose.

Faulkner choose to organize his story out of chronological line to offer Emily everlasting love at her death, and the end of the story. The townspeople that inhibited Emily’s life failed to provide her with love, as did her father. Roses symbolically stand for love and affection. Faulkner offers “A Rose For Emily” in the title symbolically denoting that he handed the protagonist “A love for Emily.” Her father shadowed her from the light she needed to grow, both symbolically and physically, “Her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip (Faulk 90).” His love was protective and drove all other forms of love away. Eventually, his love passed on and left Emily loveless with nothing but a house. Finally, after years Emily acquired a possible suitor. Yet, he did not


meet the standards that the town felt a true Grierson should uphold. He was a northerner and a day laborer, the townspeople found Emily’s behavior disgraceful and “at last the ladies forced the Baptist minister…to call upon her…the minister’s wife wrote to Miss Emily’s relations in Alabama (Faulkner 92).” At last Emily had been offered a love, symbolically a rose, yet the town tried to take it away from her. Under a reader’s assumption, it can be inferred that Emily’s relatives drove Homer Barron away. After her relatives departed he came back and in fear of losing

him she killed him. This was Faulkner’s way of symbolically handing Emily a rose. She took that rose and preserved it, like many women do, and she kept it close to her until her death. “A rose for Emily” symbolically becomes, “A love for Emily.”

A final interpretation of

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