Old Guard Religious Symbolism in a Rose for Emily


A rose for Emily is a symbolic story by William Faulkner. It is an amazing read, that is laced with symbolism and parables, which are used in the story from beginning to end. The story is full of metaphors and every event that is written by the author, can easily be perceived in different ways.

The story basically is aimed at the changes, which occurred in the Southern parts after the end of the civil war. Emily is the only character which stays the same and does not change during the whole story. She is the symbol of determination, strictness and unwillingness to accept the changes which were occurring at that time. The strongest symbol and allegory in the story is between the house and Emily. The house is left unattended and ignored by her, which shows Emily’s ignorance about the present and the war. The author describes the house as obstinate and uncompromising, which again is parallel to Emily and will remain to be a significant part of the story.

The other major theme, which is discussed in the story repeatedly, is death. It is a representative of the time when everything would end, and is the back bone of the story as well. Emily denies accepting death as a fact of life and stands against it. There comes a point in the story, where her dad passes away, she simply denies this reality and is not ready to digest the bitter truth. She feels for and talks to the dead men that were once in her life. Throughout the story, there is a strong presence of death, and it can be felt. Emily herself is an example of walking dead. The story takes numerous turns, before finally wrapping up and is an excellent work of fiction and symbolism. The metaphors, most of them, represent the events after a civil war. The symbolism relates very well to the situation.

The allegories used in the story are numerous and are carried till the end in a very firm manner by the writer. Never during the story, has he forgotten the main theme and never lets the story take a dead end. The metaphors and symbolism used in the story “A rose for Emily”, are mainly death and her house. They can be seen from a religious context as well. Death and the reluctance to change are both seen from a religious point of view and are an example of religious symbolism.

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