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A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

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A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

In “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner’s symbolic use of the “rose” is essential to the story’s theme of Miss Emily’s self-isolation. The rose is often a symbol of love, and portrays an everlasting beauty Miss Emily’s “rose” exists only within the story’s title. Faulkner leaves the reader to interpret the rose’s symbolic meaning. Miss Emily was denied the possibility of falling in love in her youth, so consequently she isolated herself from the world and denied the existence of change. Miss Emily was denied her “rose”, first by her father, then by the townspeople, and then Homer Barron. Miss Emily’s father denied her the ability to establish a “normal” relationship because of their family’s social position. She lost the will and the desire to do so, even after he died. It becomes aware that Miss Emily’s chances of having a “normal” relationship are hindered by her father’s obstinace.

Cruelty is displayed in the way Miss Emily’s father isolated her from establishing a relationship with another person. Miss Emily’s father was a prominent well-respected southern gentleman, and he would not allow his only daughter to be courted by just anyone. “None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. We had long thought of them as a tableau” (Faulkner 24). As most little girl’s do, Miss Emily idolized her father, and held him in high regard, even though he was a strong and forbidding man, who did not allow her to experience life. Miss Emily’s father “robbed” her of her ability to date during her youth, and therefore hindered her ability to grow emotionally. “We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (Faulkner 28).

The problem of class conflict appears in her relationship with Homer Barron. The townspeople assumed because of Miss Emily’s social status, and her age that she would be a spinster, and expected her to act as one. They were appalled when Homer Barron arrived, and he and Miss Emily were seen together in town. They even contacted out of town relatives to come and talk some “sense” into Miss Emily. They could not accept that Emily may be coming into herself, and

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