When asked at a seminar at the University of Virginia about the meaning of the title "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner replied, "Oh, it's simply the poor woman had no life at all. Her father had kept her more or less locked up and then she had a lover who was about to quit her, she had to murder him. It was just 'A Rose for Emily'—that's all." In another interview, asked the same question, he replied, “I pitied her and this was a salute, just as if you were to make a gesture, a salute, to anyone; to a woman you would hand a rose, as you would lift a cup of sake to a man.” What do you make of Faulkner’s response? What else might the title suggest?

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It is true, as Faulkner said, that Emily lives a life of unhappiness. Her only apparent lover, Homer Barron , deserts her, and she deserves some compensation for her life of unrequited love. However, the title could also suggest that giving Emily a rose is akin to paying homage to...

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It is true, as Faulkner said, that Emily lives a life of unhappiness. Her only apparent lover, Homer Barron, deserts her, and she deserves some compensation for her life of unrequited love. However, the title could also suggest that giving Emily a rose is akin to paying homage to a lost time. Miss Emily lives in the only house left on a street that has now been turned over to garages. She is representative of decayed gentility. Faulkner writes, "Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town." She is a responsibility that they must care for, so they let her get away with not paying her taxes and don't question her when she mysteriously purchases arsenic. She is someone people still feel that they must pay obeisance to, and that is what the title could suggest—paying homage to her as a relic of bygone days.

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