Literary Devices In William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily

1322 words - 5 pages

“A Rose for Emily”, written by William Faulkner, is a southern-gothic short story that initially debuted in the magazine publication Forum, in 1930. The fictional plot opens after the death of the main protagonist, Miss Emily Grierson, the daughter of a once southern, aristocratic businessman. The southern belle fails numerous times to find companionship outside of her immediate family because her father runs off all prospective suitors. During the main character’s aged lifespan, the townsfolk notice Miss Emily’s reclusiveness increase after the loss of her father, Mr. Grierson, and after the rejection of her courtship with Homer Barron. After the random disappearance of Barron, no man or woman has been seen entering the threshold of the antebellum structure, aside from the occasional resurfacing of a Negro man, Tobe, the domain's gardener and cook. Mystery shrouds the estate, frozen in a self-contained past, as a capricious reality continues evolving; Miss Emily dedicates her life to holding on to her precious past. Faulkner thoroughly utilizes dynamic imagery, symbolism, and tone through his character, Miss Emily. The writer uses the plot to portray one central, enveloping theme; time gives way towards change, and humans, no matter the intended effort, shall never be able to alter the undertakings of reality.
First and foremost, Faulkner uses the vast imagery of the Grierson property to show Miss Emily’s resilience to the evolving times. In Faulkner’s exposition, the author depicts Miss Emily’s home as aging and decrepit. The house is known to have, “ . . . [a] big, squarish frame . . . that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies . . .” (Faulkner 1). The view illustrates a contrasting image against the backdrop of cotton gins and gasoline pumps from the neighborhood’s new era. The imagery reveals to the audience that the protagonist is rather unmotivated to conform to the novel advancements of the world after the war. Miss Emily tries pausing reality around her by refusing the postal service in order to preserve, “ . . . [the] stubborn and coquettish decay . . . ” of her property (Faulkner 1). A tax collector visits Grierson, which allows the audience to be enlightened on the interior design of the residence; Faulkner describes inside of the Grierson home as covered in dust, disuse, and tarnish, with exception of the crayon portrait of Mr. Grierson (Faulkner 2). The presence of thick dust and tarnishing shows the unwilling nature of Miss Emily to rearrange or alter her furnishing (Faulkner 2). The unwavering imagery represents Emily’s intent on fighting the changing times as it continues to pass at the Grierson manor; while the real world continues to exert itself on Miss Emily.
In a secondary manor, Faulkner uses symbolism in Miss Emily’s life to keep her connected to her past and to momentarily resist the continuing flow of time. The first symbol, the...

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