William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily” carries a theme represented by a dying breed of that era, while using symbolism to represent tragedy, loneliness and some form of pride, the story also shows how far one will go to have the approval of others and the pursuit of happiness. In today’s times, a person’s image could mean everything in life and almost everyone tries to fit into the mainstream in some form at some point in their life. Though people often claim to try to be unique and trendsetters at some point they all buckle down and try to just fit in and impress.
This idea to me goes into the same as for “A Rose for Emily”. The short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is about the life of a once vibrant and happy young girl who grows into a very troubled old woman. When interviewed and asked “the meaning of the title, A Rose for Emily. Faulkner expressed: “Oh, it’s simply the poor woman had had no life at all. ” (1445). Main character Emily Grierson was born into a family that was very well kept and members of the upper class. Everyone in the some what small community kept close eyes on the Grierson family.
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It wasn’t as if the townspeople didn’t like the Grierson’s, it’s just that the family was the object of perfection, so every move was closely watched. Emily’s father to me was a character who was considered very noble in the lime light, but in secret he held his daughter back from becoming a proper adult, he wanted her to not date and to stay around to play “house keeper” one could call it. Upon her fathers death Emily went through many changes. She became very secluded and she aged quickly. She had all the feelings of being alone, not married, un-successful.
This is not something that the townspeople expected and they showed her a substantial amount of pity. Things began to change when Emily fell in love with a man named Homer Barron. It seemed her luck had changed and the people of the town thought that Emily was to marry Homer. Time went on and Homer had disappeared, Emily became almost a ghost only rarely seen anymore, people suspected the worst. Soon it was found known that Emily had committed suicide and had murdered Homer as well. His body found in a locked room in the top of Emily’s home.
On the bed where Homer laid rotting, there was a strand of Emily’s hair where she had been sleeping next to his rotting corpse. “we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair” (397). Following reading the short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, I was in some form of shock. It’s not everyday I can read a story out of an English book and actually like it. Thinking about this assignment while reading the story made is easier to dig deeper into the text rather than skim reading. I was able to pick up on more on what was being said the themes, motifs and symbols of the story.
To me the part of the story that stood out the most, was the form of symbolism which was the gray hair found on the pillow next to Homer’s rotting corpse. Upon first reading and re-reading I didn’t understand, I didn’t put two and two together, I only saw Emily as being a person suffering from necrophilia. It wasn’t but a few hours later after reading that the symbolism reached me. The gray hair in itself does represent some very disturbing images and acts, but more importantly it symbolizes a form of love lost, and the often insane things people will do in the pursuit of happiness.
You think about it, Emily in my eyes did have some major problems but as a whole all she wanted was the love of someone, and she stopped at nothing to have that. Also I was able to pick up on a theme of the story, I saw it as being a torn subject of tradition versus change. As mentioned from above, Emily and her family where held in such high regard, things where suppose to work a certain way and nothing was to become between that, but that was a much different case in Emily’s life.
The story shows a dying era, from the text you can see as the community changes Emily’s house does not, it remains behind in the changing times. Though I see it not so much as a bad thing, it just shows how Emily is struggling to be everything she is suppose to be. Emily and her house represent how times use to be, but at the same time she and her home is a burden on the new up rising of the community. From reading “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, and trying to pick part key points and the symbolism of the short story, when laid out in front of you, you can see how even though the story deals with a poor woman who is shunned away from the outside world and forced into isolation. You can see from her sick and twisted ways, that is was all about trying not to be lonely, and to still have some pride as being someone of importance. Most of all the symbolism used to show Emily’s most elusive desires “Love and the pursuit of happiness”. Work Cited Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily. ” The Story and Its Writer: an Introduction to Short Fiction. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2007. 391-97. Print.