"A Rose for Emily" is a wonderful short story written by William Faulkner. It begins with at the end of Miss Emily’s life and told from an unknown person who most probably would be the voice of the town. Emily Grierson is a protagonist in this story and the life of her used as an allegory about the changes of a South town in Jefferson after the civil war, early 1900's. Beginning from the title, William Faulkner uses symbolism such as house, Miss Emily as a “monument “, her hair, Homer Barron, and even Emily’s “rose” to expresses the passing of time and the changes. The central theme of the story is decay in the town, the house, and in Miss Emily herself. It shows the way in which we all grow old and decay and there is nothing permanent except change.
Miss Emily’s house is one of the important symbols which represent the past because it rejects updating like Miss Emily. The “… house had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street” (209).Then it ages with Emily an “eyesore among eyesores” (209). She had once been “a slender figure in white” (211) and later she looks “bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water... her eyes lost in the fatty ridges of her face...” (210). She represents the Old South by her actions. She avoided to believe that time were changing and did not join the new society. She even does not come out. One example of Emily lives in the past is when she refuses to pay the tax.
During Miss Emily’s funeral she referred to another symbol as a “fallen monument” (209), which could mean she was once beautiful and wealthy but with time she grew old and became poor. Also it portrays her inability to accept death and a fallen monument of a community that was never able to accept her one of theirs.
Furthermore, Miss Emily’s hair is one of the symbols, shortly after her father’s death Emily cuts her hair that could possibly symbolize the freedom for her as breaking away from her father's control "When we saw her again, her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl..." (212). Also, as Emily grows older her hair changes into “iron-gray, like the hair of an active man” (214). That hair colour changing symbolizes the time, we realize time first by Emily's hair, and then her hair has turned "a vigorous iron-gray” (214) when she disappears into her house.
In Faulkner’s story Homer Barron obviously represents the present, the formation, and the new ways. When he arrives to the town for the construction Emily was already around 30-34 years old, well past her time according to that time and he was the next generation. Also, probably he might be her future life. Homer Barron was Northerner “...a Yankee...” (212) and north is known as its easy adaptation for changes...