Fallen From Grace. On The Use Of Symbolism In William Faulkner's 'a Rose For Emily.'

913 words - 4 pages

An essay on the use of symbolism. -Fallen from GraceA comparative essay on the use of symbolism in William Faulkner's 'A Rose for Emily.'Authors traditionally use symbolism as a way to represent the sometimes intangible qualities of the characters, places, and events in their works. In his short story 'A Rose for Emily,' William Faulkner uses symbolism to compare the Grierson house with Emily Grierson's physical deterioration, her shift in social standing, and her reluctancy to accept change.When compared chronologically, the Grierson house is used to symbolize Miss Emily's physical attributes. In its prime, the Grierson house is described as 'white, decorated with cupolas and spires and ...view middle of the document...

Neither are even remotely representative of their former splendor.Just as their physical characteristics, Faulkner uses the Grierson house as a symbol for Miss Emily's change in social status. In its prime, the house was 'big,' and 'squarish,' and located on Jefferson's 'most select street' (69). This description gives the reader the impression that the residence was not only extremely solid, but also larger than life, almost gothic in nature, and seemingly impervious to the petty problems of the common people. The members of the Grierson family, especially Emily, were also considered to be strong and powerful. The townspeople regarded them as regal. And Emily, as the last living Grierson, came to symbolize her family's, and possibly the entire south's, rich past. The townspeople's reveration of Emily soon decayed, however, once it was rumored that she was left no money, only the house, in her father's will. Also, her scandalous appearances with Homer Barron further lessened her reputation in the public eye. And, perhaps inevitably, the prestige and desirability of the Grierson house fell right along side Miss Emily's diminishing name.Perhaps the most significant comparison occurs when the Grierson house is used to symbolize Emily Grierson's unwillingness to accept change. Emily Grierson held tightly to her family's affluent past. A good example of this occurred when representatives were sent to her home to collect her delinquent taxes. She completely rejected her responsibility to the town by referring the men to a time when the since departed mayor, Colonel Sartoris, 'remitted her...

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