In-depth analysis of some of the most popular short stories including summaries, character analysis, narrative technique, symbolism and much more.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Symbolism: A Rose For Emily

Image courtesy of Bergadder on

Symbolism: Iron Gray Hair

The description ofEmily’s hair by the narrator as “iron gray” symbolizes Emily’s perceived strength and hardships. There seems to exist a dichotomy within Emily, one of a weak lady who often loses her grip on reality, and one who often exercises control over those around her e.g. Homer Baron, the town’s officials. Emily has been hardened by life, by her experiences, something which has turned her into the emotionally hard, and distant woman the reader often sees. Sheltered for most of her life, she loses one of the main reasons for her pride, her father. Her having to cope with her father's passing as well as the changing cultural landscape around her, leaves the great Emily Grierson, a striving woman. Aside from her house help, Tobe, Emily is alone, lacking a spouse or close friend. 
 Emily’s through her "iron gray hair" leaves a lasting impression on the town, an impression which borders on immortality. The discovery of the iron gray hair on the pillow reveals to everyone the true Emily Grierson. She is more than just eccentric, she is a necrophiliac, and a murderer. The "iron gray hair" is the last thing the reader is left with, and it is an imagery which leaves a haunting impact on those she left behind. The reader gets a sense that Emily Grierson will somehow live on in the stories that will be told from then on.

Symbolism: The House

The great house in which Emily lives is symbolic of Emily herself. Like Emily the House remains old, never changing to reflect the changing times. Emily refuses to place a
number on the house or a mailbox, which shows that in some way she projects her views onto it. Also like Emily Grierson who had once been an iconic member of a privileged family, the House too once held that distinction being “big, squarish...set on what had once been our most select street.” Just as Emily physically ages but mentally remains stuck in time, the House also physically deteriorates becoming an “eyesore”, but still stands as  a mental reminder to all in the town, of a time that has since passed.

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