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The Mystery Of The Rose And The Narrator In A Rose For Emily By Faulkner

1187 words - 5 pages

While one of the most traditional interpretations of “A Rose for Emily” is the variety of meanings for the “rose” presented in the title and how the “rose” fits in with the story. Laura Getty states in her article many varied perspectives that many could ponder when identifying what the “rose” stands for. She states many possible theories that depict what the “rose” means, including theories of other writers that help support her own theory and also that adds another way that most might not consider at first. Most of the interpretations of the rose are all focused on the “internal elements” (Getty 231) rather than the actual rose itself. Getty theorizes about certain characters, buildings, anything that symbolizes a rose in the story as the possible meaning of the “Rose” in the title. As Getty states her own theories and those of scholars, she theorizes that “if these various symbols [Homer’s body, Emily’s state of mind, the narrator’s tribute] in the story are petals in the rose, it is important to note that the ‘Rose’ of the title gathers all of these references together in a way that moves beyond any one source” (231). This quote simply means that all of the symbols that have been derived from the story could be the petals to the “rose” that make up the actual rose itself. “The story is, after all, a literary construct, and it is constructed under the title, or in this case sub rose” (231) which is another position Getty states. However, since we do not actually know what the rose stands for, maybe that is how the author wants it to be: a secret kept in complete secrecy. Getty quotes Hendrickson who helps support Getty’s theory of sub rosa, saying:
According to legend, the Greek god of silence, Harpocrates, stumbled upon Venus while she was making love with a handsome youth, and Cupid [. . .] bribed the god of silence to keep quiet about the affair by giving him the first rose ever created. This story made the rose the emblem of silence, and since the fifth century B.C., a rose carved on the ceilings of dining and drawing rooms where European diplomats gathered enjoined all present to observe secrecy about any matter discussed sub rosa, or “under the rose” [. . .] The rose was also carved over the Roman Catholic confessional as a symbol of silence, and sub rosa became well known [. . .] as a term for “strict confidence,” “complete secrecy,” or “absolute privacy.” (Getty qtd Hendrickson167-68).
The point that Getty makes by stating this quote in his article is that the rose’s true meaning will only be known by the author therefore making it a form of sub rosa; that the only person who knows of Emily’s actions up and till her death, is only the author. “The ‘Rose’ of the title extends far beyond any one flower or literary allusion in its implications for the story’s structure. The ‘Rose’ represents secrecy: the confidential relationship between the author and his character, with all of the privileged information withheld.” (232) I agree with...

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