There are several ways to interpret the title that William Faulkner has provided his readers with, “A Rose For Emily. ” Roses create complex webs of symbolism and connotations. The content and the narrative of the story, support the rose as a significant symbol in the story. Faulkner uses a voice outside of the story within the title to enhance the message behind the story of Emily Grierson. The title, “A Rose For Emily” has several possible interpretations that enhance the meaning of Faulkner’s work. Faulkner symbolically uses the rose as a gesture, Emily giving her respect the town failed to offer her.
The town was constantly posing as a nosey threat o Emily’s closed doors. Even into her death the narrative voice reveals the towns extreme nosiness. “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men though a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house (Faulkner 87). ” At the beginning of the story Faulkner made it clear that the town was nosey even at her death. The title offers her something living and alive with beauty and a wonderful aroma.
In the story she was only handed time that to her became “a huge meadow which no winter even quite touches (Faulkner 93),” She was dead at the day of her birth. As illustrated in the story, time was consuming Emily faster than she could die. Faulkner salutes Emily in his title by offering her a rose. Faulkner choose to organize his story out of chronological line to offer Emily everlasting love at her death, and the end of the story. The townspeople that inhibited Emily’s life failed to provide her with love, as did her father. Roses symbolically stand for love and affection.
Faulkner offers “A Rose For Emily” in the title symbolically denoting that he handed the protagonist “A love for Emily. ” Her father shadowed her from the light she needed to grow, both symbolically and physically, “Her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip (Faulk 90). ” His love was protective and drove all other forms of love away. Eventually, his love passed on and left Emily loveless with nothing but a house. Finally, after years Emily acquired a possible suitor. Yet, he did not MOY 2 meet the standards that the town felt a true Grierson should uphold.
He was a northerner and a day laborer, the townspeople found Emily’s behavior disgraceful and “at last the ladies forced the Baptist ministerto call upon herthe minister’s wife wrote to Miss Emily’s relations in Alabama (Faulkner 92). ” At last Emily had been offered a love, symbolically a rose, yet the town tried to take it away from her. Under a reader’s assumption, it can be inferred that Emily’s relatives drove Homer Barron away. After her relatives departed he came back and in fear of loosing him she killed him. This was Faulkner’s way of symbolically handing Emily a rose.
She took that rose and preserved it, like many women do, and she kept it close to her until her death. “A rose for Emily” symbolically becomes, “A love for Emily. ” A final interpretation of the title has a more direct connection with the story and offers Faulkner with a different perspective. The rose in the title possibly stood for the monument the town made her. There are instances were the narrator suggests that Emily is a monument to time, much as a rose is a monument to love. “Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, a care, sort of a hereditary obligation upon the town (Faulkner 88).
The town saw her as an icon, a piece of history, they alienated her, and failed to accept her as a simple neighbor or friend. Even the men of the town viewed her “as that of an idol (Faulkner 90). ” For a period in the story, the town had not seen their Miss Emily for quite some time. “She was sick for a long time. When we saw her again, her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows (Faulkner 90). ” Here the town paints Emily’s portrait in an extremely angelic light.
The narrator later on proclaimed her as “an idol in a niche (Faulkner 90),” to the town; as she existed within the walls of her traditional home. The town fails to perceive her as a human, they simply accept her as an icon of what the town once represented and stood for. The town’s nosiness was an attempt to see if poor Emily could live up to the position they had created her as the town’s monument. In her later years Emily makes an attempt to become humanized in the town as she reopens her doors and offers china painting lessons. The town continued to immortalized her and maintain her as a monument.
The title “A Rose for Emily” may possibly be interpreted as “A monument of Emily” as that was were the town had held her. MOY 3 Faulkner provides Emily with justification for her poor life by offering and saluting her with a rose incorporated in the title, “A Rose For Emily. ” The title truly enhanced the meaning of his work, providing readers with different ways to understand and empathize with Emily. It was also a brilliant way for Faulkner himself to be a part of the story without actually playing between the lines. This allowed him to leave his audience at their own opinion and slyly add his.