I think the rose symbolizes Emily's happiness with Homer, but what do you think?
The rose, to me, is a tribute to Miss Emily and a representation of the sympathy that the narrator felt for her due to her upbringing, etc. The rose is a symbol of love and beauty and is timeless. Miss Emily always wanted to experience real, lasting love; she was once a beautiful woman; and she was timeless in that she refused to change. She wanted time to stand still, honestly, and she simply did not want to change.
Some critics see the rose as representative of Emily and the Southern way of life. It was lovely and enviable in its prime, but not without thorns. The south has good weather, beautiful ladies, wealthy landowners and everything is prosperous; however, slavery is an ugly blot on it, hence the thorns. Emily's becoming a murderer is also a thorn.
Very good interpretation. I've wondered how the title fits the story, and your suggestion seems to fit. My question is how did Emily and Homer meet? If she was such a recluse that she wouldn't allow people into her house, how did she "hook up" with Homer in the first place?
The rose symbolizes the last tribute and respect from the narrator as Miss Emily was seen as a tradition, a duty and a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town. The rose can also be a symbol of sympathy towards Miss Emily who yearns for love but in the end has to embrace the dead for solace.
It seems that "A Rose" symbolizes Faulkner's sympathy and compasison with Emily. Though Faulkner criticizes the Southern aristocracy in his other works, as Quentin says at the end of "Absalom! Absalom!", Faulner does not hate the South.
It might be safely said that "A Rose" is a flower the author places on the tombstone of Emily as a Requiem for a lady who was the victim of "the noblesse oblige".