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Old Guard Religious Symbolism in a Rose for Emily


William Faulkner is the author of the short story “A Rose for Emily” which is full of religious symbolism and many allegories that are used throughout the story. There are many metaphors that are present, and each instance that exists in the short story can be interpreted in a variety of ways. “A Rose for Emily” addresses the changes that happened in the South immediately after the civil war, and uses Emily as a symbol of the only constant in an ever-changing world. Emily is depicted as being strict and repetitive and unwilling to accept or acknowledge the changes of the times in the society.

One of the stronger allegories and metaphorical examples in the story is the representation and link between Miss Emily and her home. Her home is depicted as being in a state of constant neglect which may be representative of Miss Emily’s neglect of the present. The house is described as stubborn and unrelenting, which is a parallel to Miss Emily and can serve to be a form of a doppelganger in the story. With the house being an extension of Miss Emily, there is also another major theme that is explored in the short story, which is death. Death is a metaphor for the end of times, which is the overall theme of the story. Miss Emily herself confronts many instances of death in the short story. In one example, her father dies and Emily refuses to accept death. She has bizarre relationships with the dead bodies of men she has once loved, which is first revealed in the story when her father dies. In addition, death is always looming in the story on a figurative level as well. Miss Emily’s own appearance is death-like, which means that she could be a walking example of the end of times.

The metaphors that are present in “A Rose for Emily” pulsates throughout every portion of the short story, and is far-reaching on many different levels. This short story is an exceptional feat of work that is shown to be drawing parallels and tying themes together throughout the entire work. The metaphors that are included in “A Rose for Emily” are particularly representative of an end of a certain era, and the religious themes that are based in the short story are likened to themes of death and a reluctance to change, which is highly represented in religious contexts as well.