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Imagery In Faulkner’S Story “A Rose For Emily”

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In order to understand William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” you need to know a little bit about the author. Most of his novels take place in the state of Mississippi with colorful history and richly varied population. The frequent theme in his novels is the abuse of black people by Southern whites. “A Rose for Emily” takes place in the late 1800s in Mississippi after the civil war. The main character is Emily, who comes from wealthy background, but at the time of the story her family has lost its fortune. Faulkner uses a great deal of visual imagery that can illuminate Emily’s life. The author suggests that her father is a dominant character who does not allow his daughter to behave a certain way that would compromise their good name, and through these images one can see why these events lead the main character to a tragic end.

In the very beginning the author describes the house where Emily resides. Faulkner writes, “It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style, set on what had once been our most select street” (1). He suggests that the family used to be wealthy and probably had slaves, but since the story occurs after the civil war Emily’s family freed their slaves and eventually lost their capital.

The family consists of black servant, Emily and her father, whom the author suggests live in the past. Her father doesn’t’ allow her to get married because “None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such”(3), and one can infer that even though the family is poor they still think highly of their name. Emily turns thirty and she is still not married, though she is extremely attached to her father. The day that he dies Emily acts as if nothing has happened, telling the townspeople “that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to dispose of the body” (3). The black servant lives in the past, too, as one may infer that he used to be a slave, but that he stays with the family even after slavery has been abolished. He is the only connection between the outside world and Emily. He is the only one that being seen by the citizens leaving the house.

After Emily’s father dies she becomes sick and stays home all the time. The next time Emily appears she has changed the way she looks. “When we saw her again, her hair cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows вЂ" sort of tragic an serene,” narrator says. One sees this change of her appearance as a sign of longing for her father because as Faulkner suggests Emily becomes very attached to her father since his is the only close person that with her all the time. The narrators also suggest that her father is very dominant, referring to images such as gloves and whip that one sees during their ride in buggy. The same images are being used when Emily starts dating Homer Barron, suggesting a parallel between him and Emily’s father, as the townspeople see “Miss Emily with her head high and Homer Barron with his hat cocked and cigar in his teeth, reins and whip in a yellow glove.” (4) It looks like Emily cannot bear to be without a dominant father figure, so



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