Symbolism in "A Rose for Emily"


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PPT presented in the Discipline: Academic Writing in English.
Professor: Vivian Margutti
Students: Bruna Moreno, Heidi Louwerens, Melina Maciel, Talita Paiva.
November, 2011.

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Symbolism in "A Rose for Emily"

  1. 1. A Rose for Emily Bruna, Heidi, Melina e Talita
  2. 2. The rose <ul><li>Shrouded in mystery due to its absence in the story </li></ul><ul><li>Many possible interpretations have been done to the present date </li></ul>
  3. 3. First interpretation: <ul><li>Final tribute </li></ul><ul><li>Slight deviation: mere flowers are given to Miss Emily </li></ul>
  4. 4. Second interpretation: <ul><li>Homer could be the rose, acting as a dried rose to serve as a &quot;relic of the past&quot;. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Third interpretation: <ul><li>Sub-rosa concept </li></ul><ul><li>Secrecy and privacy </li></ul><ul><li>“ Harpocrates stumbled upon Venus while she was making love with a handsome youth, and Cupid bribed the god of silence to keep quiet about the affair by giving him the first rose ever created. This story made the rose the emblem of silence (...)&quot; </li></ul>
  6. 6. The sub rosa concept in many stances <ul><li>Oedipal love: nor Emily nor anyone recognizes that she transfered her longing for her dad to Homer </li></ul><ul><li>The story itself hides at all cost the truth </li></ul><ul><li>Religious conotations: confession </li></ul><ul><li>The house itself shelters Emily and her secret </li></ul>
  7. 7. Changing Portraits <ul><li>Faulkner “creates numerous figurative portraits of Emily herself by framing her in doorways or windows”. (Powell, 2011) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Young Emily <ul><li>“ We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door.” </li></ul>(Faulkner,1930)
  9. 9. Mature Emily <ul><li>“… when her father passed away, she was unable to survive.” (Qun, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>She doesn’t grow up to be a woman (lacks sexuality) </li></ul><ul><li>Appearance: short hair (resemblance to an angel) </li></ul><ul><li>The hair: symbol of sexuality, fertility </li></ul>
  10. 10. Old Emily <ul><li>Emily’s final portrait “contrasts sharply with the portrait of her youth” (Powell, 2011) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ fat woman in black” (Faulkner, 1930) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ her voice was dry and cold” (Faulkner, 1930) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Time and its inescapable changes have died” (Powell, 2011) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Tradition vs progress <ul><li>“ Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The new generation, with its more modern ideas”, represents progress and development. </li></ul>(Faulkner,1930)
  12. 12. Emily vs The father <ul><li>Her father is portrayed with his back to her : disregard to her emotional welfare </li></ul><ul><li>The horsewhip: a symbol of control over her life </li></ul><ul><li>She was robbed of a marriage </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Dead <ul><li>The dead are present in her life (foreshadowing) </li></ul><ul><li>She holds on to her father’s body </li></ul><ul><li>After Homer’s missing she becames a living dead. “But the images of death emerged most frequently: her pallid complexion: her drowned, bloated body; her lost eyes; and the cold, dry voice of the tomb. Not only had Emily been living with the death literally in the form of Homer’s corpse, but something essential had died within her.” (Qun,2007) </li></ul><ul><li>At the end she lives with the dead </li></ul>
  14. 14. Emily becames her father (The second portrait) <ul><li>inversion of her youthful portrait: “a window that had been dark was lighted and Miss Emily sat in it, the light behind her”. </li></ul><ul><li>Emily became the dark silhouette of her father in the dominant foreground. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Gender perspective <ul><li>“ When Miss Emily Grierson died, the whole town went to her funeral : the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument , the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant--a combined gardener and cook--had seen in at least ten years” . (FAULKNER,1930) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Curry, R. <ul><li>&quot; The men in the town are portrayed as respectful of Emily, while the women are curious. The narrator is both, and like the townspeople cannot know what goes on in Emily's life. This bisexual narration admits the existence of the female protagonist's subjectivity and in doing so has to admit, through this subjectivity which the narrator cannot be a part of, the gendered aspect of narrative itself ”   </li></ul>
  17. 17. Curry, R. <ul><li>“ Miss Emily is the woman , the object who provides the reason to feel &quot;affection&quot; and to &quot;see,&quot; and &quot;our whole town&quot; floats as subject of the sentence”. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Curry, R. <ul><li>Symbolism - Emily - expression of the &quot;Old South“, fading . New concept as Homer arrives - diminishes Emily´s reputation among the public who had her as a reference of a traditional behavior in this Sothern small town. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Curry & Faulkner <ul><li>“… we saw a  long strand of iron-gray hair . “ (A Rose for Emily. Chapter 5, P6). </li></ul><ul><li>* Falkner calls himself “we”; </li></ul><ul><li>* The hair could be proof of necrophilia; </li></ul><ul><li>* Male oriented patriarchal society: </li></ul><ul><li>* Father and Emily behaviour. </li></ul><ul><li>* Movement - Subject - Object </li></ul><ul><li>the short story is written in media res. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Curiosities <ul><li>Videos: (Part I) (Part II) </li></ul><ul><li>A movie was produced in 1983, in which Anjelica Huston plays Miss Emily but it is really hard to find. </li></ul>
  21. 21. References <ul><li>QUN, Xie. Analysis of the Changing Portraits in “A Rose for Emily”. Available at: <>. Accessed in: September 29th, 2011. </li></ul><ul><li>CURRY, Renee R. Gender and authorial limitation in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”. Available at: <>. Accessed in: September 29th, 2011. </li></ul><ul><li>GETTY, Laura J. Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”. Available at: <>. Accessed in: September 29th, 2011. </li></ul><ul><li>POWELL, Janice A. Changing Portraits in &quot;A Rose for Emily&quot;. Available at: <>. Accessed in: September 29th, 2011. </li></ul><ul><li>FAULKNER, William. &quot;A Rose for Emily&quot;. IN: MEYER, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature (pages 72 – 78). Fifth Edition. Boston: 1999. </li></ul>