The Central Theme and Symbolism of William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily

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William Faulkner's central theme in the story "A Rose For Emily" is to let go of the past. The main character in the story, Emily Grierson, has a tendency to cling to the past and has a reluctance to be independent. Faulkner uses symbols throughout the story to cloak an almost allegorical correlation to the reconstruction period of the South. Even these symbols are open to interpretation; they are the heart and soul of the story. With the literal meaning of Faulkner's story implies many different conclusions, it is primarily the psychological and symbolic aspects, which give the story meaning.

Miss Emily cannot accept change to any degree. She is unable to ameliorate as the rest of the society does. The Old South is
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The fact that Miss Emily is dressed in white proves her purity. Another point is how Emily is in the background, further proving her submission towards her father. The horsewhip symbolizes the power Miss Emily's father has over her. Her father is domineering and controlling and sadly, that is all she knows. It is no surprise when Miss Emily's father dies, she does not know what to do, "being left alone, and a pauper" (471). The corpse of her father remains in the house for three days while Miss Emily refuses to accept the fact that he is actually dead. The narrator's description of her at the funeral is evidence of sympathy the inhabitants feel toward her; "We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will" (471). The crayon portrait resting on an easel before the fireplace reveals the fact that Emily?s father still has a powerful control over her.

Colonel Satoris, a member of the Old South, pardons Miss Emily's taxes shortly after her father dies. He produces a fib that the town owes Miss Emily's father money, so it wouldn't seem like he has made a charitable attempt to help Emily's financial woes. Colonel Satoris also sends his children to her house for china painting lessons. After the old generation is replaced by the new, the city begins to ask Miss Emily for her