Why is this work called "A Rose for Emily"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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William Faulkner's sympathetic explanation of his title points to the paradoxical remark that he once made, "I love the South; I hate the South."  So, while he has symbolized the decadence of the Old South, Faulkner has also paid tribute to it.

At the funeral, the men's having dressed symbolically in their Confederate uniforms leads to this underlying tribute to the South.  While they hollowly imagine that they have courted Miss Emily and danced with her, they do also praise her as part of the legendary South that refuses to die.  For, although Emily is humiliated by Homer's leaving her and his lower class standing, like the redoubtable South of old, Emily rises again when he returns and defeats the Northerner by killing him.  Thus, Faulkner's rose is both a symbol of sympathy for Emily, and an acknowledgement of her passion and Southern pride, proving the narrators' observance that "with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her"; namely, the pride, honor, and "gumption" of the Old South.

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carol-davis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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William Faulkner's story "A Rose for Emily" holds close to the traditions of the Old South.  In that time, much like  the Arthurian legends, women were to be guarded, cherished, and treasured. Miss Emily Grierson, the story's main character, secluded herself from the rest of society, symbolic of a time that was passing away.  Her father had protected her so much that he prevented her from living a normal life: no beaus or even friends. When he died,  Colonel Satoris, the town's mayor, lied to keep Emily from having to pay taxes for her property.  Early in the story, the reader is told:

Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; sort of hereditary obligation upon the town..."

But the new south did not find the traditions necessary.  The town would...

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