Symbolism in A Rose For Emily William Faulkner (1897-1962) was a southern writer; he spent most of his time in Oxford, Mississippi. 'A Rose For Emily' was a vehicle for him to write about the South and the old ways of the South. He was a well respected writer. In 1950 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. faulkner uses symbolism to make his message stronger. Faulkner uses symbolism as a way to the qualities of the character, places and events in his work.
Emily came from a well to do family that had a lot of history in the town. The Grierson's were so powerful, Emily did not have to pay taxes. The whole townspeople seemed to think tart they were snobby because in Emily's father's eyes, none of the men were quite good enough for Emily. Unfortunately, Emily turned out to be a lonely old woman because of her father's influence. in 'A Rose for Emily', Faulkner uses the element of time to enhance details of the setting and vice versa.
By avoiding chronological order of events of Miss Emily's life, Faulkner first gives the reader a completed puzzle, and then allows the reader to examine the puzzle piece by piece. By doing so he enhances the story and presents two different perspectives of time held by the characters such as, the world of the present and, the world of tradition and the past-'confusing time with it's mathematical progression... divided from them by the narrow bottleneck of the most recent decade of years' (Faulkner 35-36). Faulkner uses symbolic elements to compare the Grierson house with Emily's life- 'lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores' (Faulkner 29). This is expressed by the symbolism of the decaying house, which is like Miss Emily's physical and mental deterioration. Emily's life like the house, suffers from lack of love and care.
The message that Faulkner presented in 'A Rose For Emily' was strongly supported by symbolism. Faulkner compares the Grierson house with Emily and her life.