In "A Rose for Emily" what actions or objects point towards any central theme in the story?What you find in the story indicates the theme?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the central themes in the story is death and loss. There are five deaths that are mentioned in the story.The story actually begins with Emily's funeral. Then, we learn of the death of Emily's father. She was so upset by that death that she would not allow him to be buried for three days. This, of course, foreshadows the end of the story. When Emily cannot pay her taxes, the town's aldermen visit her. Emily is described as a woman who has drowned.

‘‘She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue.’’

When the aldermen visit Emily to try to get her to pay her taxes, she suggests they talk to Colonel Sartoris, who has been dead for over 10 years. The narrator also mentions the insanity and death of Emily's great-aunt, old lady Wyatt. Finally there is the discovery of the death of Homer Baron and the grisly discovery of the "long strand of iron-gray hair" which implies that Emily has been sleeping with the dead body of Homer. It seems that along with the loss of the Old South as Emily knew it, she also lost all the people that were close to her. This obviously affected her behavior and, when Homer rejected her, it was easier for her to ignore both his murder and his death than deal with another death of one to whom she felt close.

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A Rose for Emily

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