Authors traditionally use symbolism as a way to convey special qualities of the many important elements in their stories. Symbolism is important for writing because it can take the reader on a more intense level of reading. Many stories have symbolism apparent with in it, but most individual overlook the deeper meaning that can be found in most literature. In his short story William Faulkner, isn't shy about using symbolism. He symbolizes the home that Emily is living in, the arsenic and limestone, the pocket watch and Emily's hair and the characters themselves.
The home that Emily dwelled in was described as "a big, squarish frame house that 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 selected street", according to this description, it seems as if the house was supposed to be shown off, rather than occupied. Many people in this era were wealthy and believed that they need to show off, just as this house was intended. The homes is this time period, the houses were used to show off wealthy families money the women by wearing expensive gowns and jewelry. Even if the house had once been very beautiful and sought jealous from all the neighbors; after the death of Emily's father, the house decayed and diminished into an eyesore. The house symbolizes the complete and udder decomposition of Emily's physical attributes and how her social standing plummeted after her father's tragic death. The house is also symbolic of Emily's reluctance to change. After her father's passing, Emily became a hermit; she rarely departed from her house at all, because her emotions halted her social growth by extreme grieving. Like everyone in the human race, as we age our body doesn't look as youthful as it once did; with the exception of those who choose to adapt to cosmetic surgery, but unfortunately there wasn't many cosmetic surgeons during Emily's day. As time progressed, the house that Emily was living in became neglected, and aged like she did. Another aspect that altered Emily's life after her father's death, was her social standing. If an in individual wants a social standing that individual has to be social and because Emily changed her lifestyle so dramatically, many people began to talk about how odd and anti-social she had become.
Limestone and arsenic are both symbols of making something disappear, in this story. As time continued (omitted: ticking) Emily still refused to depart her (add a good word here telling how the house is by now: willowing?) house and awful smell began to intoxicate the neighborhood. (why did it smell? Maybe compare her to Ms. Havisham) When the odor became so unbearable that it was repulsive, the neighbors decided to take action. They all congregated and set up a plan that would help make the awful smell disappear. This is where the limestone entered the story. Limestone is a very common sedimentary rock that comes from a biochemical origin, but it wasn't just any limestone that they chose to use, it was powdered limestone, which is used to neutralize acidic conditions. In this case, they hoped it would neutralize the foul odor of the house. This was symbolic of making something disappear, but they had no idea what they were trying to mask. Emily had many issues, which will be discussed later, but the smell was a rotting corpse. Arsenic was another white poisonous powder the neighborhood used. It is often used in manufacturing glass, and as a pesticide. When Emily went to the pharmacist she first asked for poison (WHY), then questioned the pharmacist on how effective arsenic was (cannot end sentence with 'was' -reword). He told her that it would work as a good pesticide. He still seemed a little hesitate to sell her so he explained that by law that any prescription(not correct word if she's getting from pharmacist) for arsenic must have a statement pertaining to why the arsenic would be used. Emily replied to the question with two words, "for rats." (CITE) If you look even further, Homer, who is Emily's lover, decided that he no longer wanted to marry her. Emily would obviously be a little upset about that predicament, and most likely was contemplating revenge. When Emily told the pharmacist that she needed the arsenic for rats, she could have meant the rat named Homer.
Time has been mentioned numerous times throughout this article(never ever refer to your own paper, in the paper) (maybe say "time is a big factor when it comes to 'insert name of story here', and there is some symbolism connected to time. The more obvious object that is symbolic of time is the pocket watch and the not so obvious object was Emily's hair. When the tax payers came to talk business with Emily at her house there was a repetitive ticking coming from her person(her person? Really?), this was symbolic that time is running out for her in many aspects. Her time for happiness, her time to live life in general, and her time to go own without paying her taxes. Emily's hair helped show the growth of time, the town observed how much time has passed by when Emily came out of her hibernation nest those very rare times. They could tell by the color of her hair how much time had really past, and more importantly, how much time she had stayed cooped up in her decaying home. Described it as "vigorous iron gray, like the hair of an active man." (CITE). When Emily no longer came out of the house, the town observed Tobe's (who's Tobe's?) hair to calculate the time.
Emily had many issues that needed psychological help, one of which was her unwillingness to let the past go, and move on with the present. One example of this, is when the new generation of modern ideas came through, and Emily had received a letter in the mail about her taxes. When she didn't reply, the mayor sent her a letter, and finally when she decided to reply back, she used archaic paper and calligraphy tool with her tax information, with absolutely no comment responding. With her using such products that are outdated, it just shows how she is stuck in the past and refuses to let go. Also symbolic of refusing to let go of the past, when the newer generation decided that it would be more effective for the postal system to establish numbers on each house; she wouldn't have anything to do with it. Also, when her father died, a few neighbor ladies decided to visit Emily and offer their condolences, and when Emily meet them at the door, she was dressed as she normally did without any sense of grieve, and explained that her father was not dead, and she continues with same behavior for three days later. Emily kept the body of her dead father in the house and refused to believe any other thought except for the thought that her father remain in the living state. Many of the ministers and the doctors made many calls and tried to persuade her to them enter her property so that they could properly dispose of his corpse. The most shocking act that Emily did, as a result to keep living in the past is how she kept her lover around. Previously it was believed, that Homer did not want marry Emily anymore. His reasoning he gave to Emily was because he wasn't a marrying guy. Emily thought that if he wouldn't stay with her the only way to keep him in her life forever, was to kill him. Eventually, Emily dies at the age of seventy-four, and when she died the whole town attended her funeral. Her showing was at her house, and many people in attendance were looking around her house, and noticed that one room was not entered. They opened to door to find the body of Homer lying on the bed, and when they went closer to the body, they found faint dust and acrid(acid?) in the nostrils; and on the pillow of the bed was a long strand of iron-gray hair. Finding the hair lying on the pillow just proved that she was sleeping with the dead corpse nightly. Refusing to let go of the old days just shows how stubborn Emily can be.
Faulkner's work has been inspected through and through for any trace of symbolism. Symbolism could be found in every page, which made this story a complete success. The Rose for Emily is packed with gruesome detail about a mentally tormented woman who cannot seem to enter into life in the new generation. Living in the past made Emily do very strange things that would most likely baffle doctors in psychological field. Emily was very stubborn and refused to see it any other way but her own; she would go so far to even kill the people that she actually loved.