In "A Rose for Emily," what is the connection between the title of the story and the content of the story?

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Keep in mind, too, that Faulkner may have titled this story as a way to pay homage and tribute to all that Miss Emily Grierson stood for in her life.  Think about it...SHE WON.  It is the eternal North vs. South and the South got the last laugh in this story.  Even though her victory is an ominous secret until after her death and her colored servant runs away allowing anyone and everyone entrance to the house, her victory is at last announced.  Homer may have broken her heart, and he may have even muddied Emily's fine reputation, but he did not live to brag about it.  The rose for Emily is a tip of the hat for her gumption and spunk for which southerners have often been celebrated.

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What is also important about the title is that it is "A Rose for Emily," not "A Rose for Miss Emily." In other words, the title deliberately takes away from the character the word that, in the context of the story, suggests the town's respect for her, her ability to intimidate the town, as well as the traditions,now disappearing, that involve referring to a white woman with prestige in this way.  Taking away the "Miss" brings Emily down to a more human level: she is no longer a monument and symbol of the past; in her death, she becomes equal to everyone else--a fact of death that Faulkner frequently considers. When we die, markers of gender, race, wealth, and status no longer matter.

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The title of a story is never accidental. The author usually connects the title in some way to one of the literary elements, such as theme, setting, or symbolism. In this story, the rose is the biggest symbol of the story.

A rose stands for life, beauty, love, passion, and even death. Miss Emily lived a life that involved much death and denial, but she didn't have much love or passion. The rose is a tribute to her life and her death, also serving to symbolize Homer Barron's death. In the end, Homer was found all dried out and had been kept in Emily's room in the attic for her to cherish. The irony is that Emily's life wasn't beautiful at all, but a rose is one of nature's most beautiful creations.

This symbolism is shown in Miss Emily's loneliness and her inability to let go of the past. She needed to keep the past alive in order to feel less lonely. Not willing to let her father's body be taken shows this need because if she lets go of him, she is all alone. When she met Homer, she paraded him in public, and "she carried her head high enough even when we believed she had fallen." Emily's sad life is also shown by the death smells coming from her house, but the last scene tells it all. It is a tomb of her eternal loneliness. "A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room decked and furnished as for a bride."

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