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Essay about Symbolism in A Rose for Emily

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Symbolism in literature is using an object to portray a different, deeper meaning in a story. Symbols represent ideas or qualities that the author has maneuvered into his or her story that has meaning. There can be multiple symbols in a story or just one. It is up to the reader to interpret the meaning of the symbols and their significance to the story. While reading a story, symbols may not become clear until the very end, once the climax is over, and the falling action is covered. In William Faulkner’s, “A Rose for Emily,” there are multiple examples of symbolism that occur throughout the story.
Symbolism that “A Rose for Emily” displays is Miss Emily’s taxes that represent death. First is the death of her father. The taxes are a symbol of the financial remission her father experiences, but keeps hidden from Miss Emily and the town. Thirty years later, after the initial decline of Miss Emily’s taxes, the newer generation attempts to retract the deal of the past. In the new generation, the taxes now symbolize the death of Homer Barron. Although the taxes are a deal of the past, there is an effort in Miss Emily to keep them a thing in the present. Homer Barron is her new man of the present, and his death symbolizes the taxes she insists she does not have to pay (Shmoop 3).
The gray strand of hair found on the pillow next to Homer Barron’s corpse is the next symbol. The lost love represented by the strand of hair is a perverse action of Miss Emily. The hair represents Miss Emily’s determination to live how she wants while disregarding anyone’s approval. Her eccentric actions proves that she lives by her own moral code, that whatever it takes to be happy is welcome, even if it is murder. “What was left of him, rotted beneath wha...


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...ent meanings. One meaning is the sympathy Miss Emily deserves. The other meaning is the meaning of love that Miss Emily yearns for so badly. Miss Emily is seen as a symbol herself because she represents the old dying South. The most important symbol of all is the house. The Grierson house holds many different meanings. The house symbolizes the dying old South, the power of death, and ultimately Miss Emily.




Works Cited

“A Rose for Emily.” SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2014.
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 12th ed. New York: Pearson, 2013. 32-37 Print.
Shmoop Editorial Team. “Death and Taxes in A Rose for Emily.” Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 28. 2008. Web. 09 Feb. 2014.
“Symbolism in “A Rose for Emily.”” N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb 2014.



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