Symbolism In A Rose For Emily

Submitted By cortt22
Words: 634
Pages: 3

Cortney Douglas
Mrs. Sturgeon
ENC 1102
26 January 2015
Symbolism of the Strand of Hair in “A Rose for Emily”
For years men have called women crazy, but in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” the word crazy takes on a whole new meaning. Throughout a story filled with death, love, and gossip the main character, Emily who is an old Southern woman, goes to an extreme length of poisoning her almost lover to keep him forever in her bed. Years later after Miss Emily dies, the townspeople hold a funeral at her house which then leads to the discovery of her lover’s rotting corpse and a long strand of iron-gray hair resting on an indented pillow beside him. Faulkner uses this strand of iron gray hair to symbolize how Miss Emily cannot let go of those she loves and how she will go to extreme lengths to make sure her almost lover stays with her forever. The small strand of hair demonstrates how desperate Emily is to have someone in her life. Having a father as overprotective as hers plays a huge roll in why Emily killed Homer. Her father is so overprotective after his death Emily wouldn’t accept the fact that he was dead, “She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days” (123). Even the townspeople saw his overprotectiveness which led them to believe Emily keeping her father’s body three days after his death wasn’t crazy, “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” (123) Having no one left to cling on to she falls hard and fast for the northerner who is below her on the social ladder, Homer Barron. Through this shocking arrangement, Faulkner shows us how much Miss Emily needs human contact in her life. Once it is made known that Homer is not the type of man for marriage, Emily knows she has to do something to keep him from slipping through her fingertips. Miss Emily goes to extremes and purchases arsenic, “’I want some poison… I want arsenic’… ‘Why of course… But the law requires you to tell what you are going to use it for.’ Miss Emily