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The Controversial Rose

Uploaded by babie220 on Apr 12, 2002

Authors traditionally use symbolism [as a way] to represent the sometimes-intangible qualities of the characters, places, and events in their works. William Faulkner’s essay titled, “A rose for Emily”, is a very controversial form of symbolism. Literary Critics have questioned Faulkner’s reason for the title “A rose for Emily”. Why a rose for a murderer, and what is the significance of that rose?

When people think of a rose, they think of a romantic environment or a holiday in which a person expresses love and affection for another. A rose is a beautiful flower that holds great significance. Unlike all flowers, a rose possess thorns, like that of Emily’s life; hence, Faulkner uses a rose to symbolize Emily’s double personality. Faulkner was not specific on the kind of rose that was given to Emily; therefore, it could be concluded there are many different meanings and aspects to Emily’s complicated life.

If the rose were red, then it would symbolize Emily’s love and passion for consistence in her life. “When the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it” (76). Emily, being of a traditional southern heritage, where things remained the same, and technology was not so advanced, preferred to live life free from stress and disappointment the new ways could bring. “Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (71). Her presence and well-being was the only reminder of the traditional southern ways. Emily was the last memory and influence the town had of the south. However, Emily’s passion and love for consistence and her resistance to change led her into complete solitude. “Now and then [the town] would see her in one of the downstairs windows”, with “the front door closed…and [remaining] closed for good” (76). Miss Emily enjoyed no one. When a representative of the town came to see her concerning a problem pertaining to her, “she vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers” (72), thus, we have the thorns of Emily’s rose.

If Faulkner’s rose were to have been white, then it would symbolize the innocence, and child-like obedience of Emily. Emily placed her father on a pedestal, and followed every thing he said as if it were part of the Ten Commandments. She dated and courted...

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Uploaded by:   babie220

Date:   04/12/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (953 words)

Views:   2229

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