Symbolism In A Rose For Emily William Faulkners A Rose for Emily is a story that addresses the symbolic changes in the South after the civil war. Miss Emily’s house symbolizes neglect and poverty of the new times in the town of Jefferson. The rampant symbolism and Faulkner’s descriptions of the decaying house, coincide with Miss Emily’s physical and emotional decay, and also emphasize her mental degeneration, and further illustrate the outcome of Faulkner’s story. Miss Emily’s decaying house, not only lacks genuine love and care, but so does she in her adult life, but more so during her childhood. The pertinence of Miss Emily’s house in relation to her physical appearance is brought on by constant neglect and under-appreciation. The house is situated in what was once a prominent neighborhood that has now deteriorated.
The house was 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 of an earlier time, now many of the towns people see that the house has become an eyesore among eyesores. Through lack of attention, the house has deteriorated from a beautiful estate, to an ugly desolate shack. Similarly, Miss Emily has also become an eyesore in the following various ways. She is first described as a fallen monument to suggest her former grandeur and her later ugliness. This story by Faulkner contains a high rate of symbolism thoroughly distributed and revealed by shady foreshadowing. Just as the house has, Miss Emily has lost her beauty.
Once she had been a beautiful woman, who later becomes obese and bloated. In this post civil war town, the great estate and Miss Emily has suffered the toll of time and neglect. As the exterior, the interior of the house as well resembles Miss Emily’s increasing decent and the growing sense of sadness that accompanies such a downfall. All that is told of the inside of Miss Emily’s house is a dim hall, where a staircase is mounted into descending darkness, with the house smelling of foul odors. The combined darkness and odor of the house relate with Miss Emily with her dry and cold voice as if it were scrappy and dry from disuse just like her house. The similarity between the inside of the house and Miss Emily extends to the mantel, where there is a portrait of her father and Miss Emily sitting there.
Internally and externally, both Miss Emily’s building and her body are in a state of deterioration and are tarnished like a metallic material. The setting of Faulkner’s story is highly essential because it defines Miss Emily’s tight grasp of ante-bellum ways and unchanging demeanor. Just as the house seems to reject progress and updating, so does Miss Emily, until both of them become decaying symbols of their dying generation. Though descriptions of the house resemble descriptions of Miss Emily Grierson, A Rose for Emily emphasizes that beauty and elegance can become distorted through neglect and lack of love and affection. As the house deteriorates for forty years until it becomes ugly and unappealing, Miss Emily’s physical appearance and emotional well-being decay in the same way.