A Rose for Emily Questions and Answers
by William Faulkner

A Rose for Emily book cover
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What details support that Faulkner uses symbolism in "A Rose for Emily"?

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Frames also seem to be symbolic in "A Rose for Emily." One of the examples is the scene where the narrator is describing Miss Emily's father as standing in the foreground and framed by the doorway as he held would be suitors at bay. Meanwhile Miss Emily is framed in the background. Also he references framing with reference to her crayon picture of her father in the gold frame. The whole story is framed in the idea of traditions dying out as time passes.

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The single grey hair on the pillow is symbolic.  The old hair on the pillow signifies that Emily is an anachronism in the town now, lying with corpses as all that she has had to be proud of is also dead.  Her desperate attempt to maintain a hold upon the past has failed and she is a "fallen monument" who left a part of her behind in the grey hair.

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Faulkner calls Emily a "fallen monument" and an "idol in a niche" to suggest how the town views her and to connect her to the idea of the old, genteel Southern ways.  The modern townspeople...

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sapphirepanda | Student

One instance of symbolism in "A Rose for Emily" is in the title itself. The rose is most often thought of as a symbol for love in which case Homer is the "rose" or love for Emily.  Her father thought no man was good enough for her or for the Grierson family.  Therefore she was never able to experience passion or the rose of love until she met Homer.  However, there is another meaning of rose to consider.  In Medieval times the rose was used as a sign of silence or secrecy.  A rose was hung from the ceiling at a meeting of secret societies indicating a demand for discretion.  The rose in the title of the story could therefore stand for Emily's secret; that is Homer her "rose" whom she cherished, loved and kept to herself even after his body was corrupted by the decay of time.

where can i find more information on the secretive meaning of the rose?

tiphayne | Student

One instance of symbolism in "A Rose for Emily" is in the title itself. The rose is most often thought of as a symbol for love in which case Homer is the "rose" or love for Emily.  Her father thought no man was good enough for her or for the Grierson family.  Therefore she was never able to experience passion or the rose of love until she met Homer.  However, there is another meaning of rose to consider.  In Medieval times the rose was used as a sign of silence or secrecy.  A rose was hung from the ceiling at a meeting of secret societies indicating a demand for discretion.  The rose in the title of the story could therefore stand for Emily's secret; that is Homer her "rose" whom she cherished, loved and kept to herself even after his body was corrupted by the decay of time.

I am typing an essay and really like how you broke symbolism down do you know how I can cite your response in MLA format?