The assignment Lecturer’s A Rose for Emily Perhaps the short story “A Rose for Emily” is one of the most allegorical stories ever written. The title of the story does not have any direct meaning on the theme of the story. The title is symbolic and depicts a deeper meaning that would be difficult to get from reading the title alone. Miss Emily Grierson, the main character in the story, undergoes so many predicaments after the death of her father and later, her lover. A thorough review of the story suffices to prove that although there were no an actual rose for Emily, she really deserved one and therefore support the allegorical title “A Rose for Emily.”
The setting of the story begins at a funeral organized for the old woman, Emily. From the word go, there seems to be a symbolic rose for Emily. After having gone through all the sufferings and loneliness after the death of her lover and her father, finally there was someone to put her in a good resting place. Indeed, men went for the funeral “through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument” (Faulkner 1). Certainly, there was no better rose to give to her other than to give her a decent burial. As the plot progresses, it is learned that Emily had been relieved of her obligations to pay taxes to the mayor as was required by the law. Accordingly, “Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emilys father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying” (Faulkner 1). The town understood the predicaments of her loss and her inability to meet her tax obligations and therefore decided to give her a rose, in form of a tax waive. Certainly, this was a symbolic rose to Emily. It was a symbol of a good relationship between the family and the town.
It was barely two years after her father died that her lover disappeared from the public limelight. A bad smell developed from her compound. The smell became so strong that the tax collectors decided to do something about it. Since they were afraid of confronting Emily about the smell, they decided to sprinkle some lime around the compound. After some time, the smell was gone. There was no other symbolic way of demonstrating concern for Emily, at least considering how she treated people. The fact that they decided not to confront her and instead preferred to sprinkle lime around the compound to correct the situation, was a good rose for Emily.
There was some disagreement between Rose and the neighbors during the burial of her father. Although some might have thought that she was getting crazy, others must have felt that she simply did not want to let him go, at least not just yet. According to neighbors, “we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (Faulkner 4). Others still argued that her father had ripped Emily off her youth. However, Emily adamantly failed to admit that his father was dead and refused to consent to his burial. Nevertheless, people decided to bury him despite her objection. This burial was one of the best roses that Emily got. The presence of her dead father’s body in the house would have caused her more grief and trauma. Therefore, the society offered her a rose in form of her father’s burial. This is even more important considering the foul smell that would have come from the dead body.
It was evident from Emily’s actions during the time when her lover, Homers, came back to the house in the evening that she killed Homers. According to the neighbors, “Now and then we would see her at a window for a moment, as the men did that night when they sprinkled the lime” (Faulkner 7). This is even true considering that she had previously bought rat poison. The community had previously stopped her from developing a relationship with Homers due to his character and personality. Probably, people saw a bad ending for the two since Homers was certainly not suited for Emily. Therefore, the society gave Emily a symbolic rose by trying to prevent the relationship between the two. They even went as far as calling her relative from another town to see to it that the two stayed apart. However, Emily continued with the relationship. Probably, things did not turn as expected and therefore she killed him and perhaps sprinkled lime on his body to kill the smell to avoid suspicion. Although she refused the rose by continuing with the relationship, the society had offered the rose.
In conclusion, the title “A Rose for Emily” is allegorical and therefore no direct meaning can be obtained from the story. The town and the community offered her multiple roses by their humane attitude towards her. Therefore, although there were no actual roses, Emily indeed received many.
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily”. highline.edu. Web 10, February 2012.