William Faulkner employs symbolism, and both direct and indirect characterization in his literary work, “A Rose for Emily,” to convey a vivid image of Miss Emily, a highly regarded aristocrat, with a desolate, atypical personality and lifestyle.
Faulkner’s use of symbolism portrays Miss Emily as a lonely, strange, yet highly regarded person. Miss Emily’s house represents her, as well as the idea of Southern Aristocracy in America after the Civil War; both are collapsing. Miss Emily comes from the Grierson family, a highly regarded, aristocratic family. The house is described as, “A big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left.” Miss Emily lives a lonely lifestyle because she is surrounded by industry. The townspeople view her as strange due to the condition of her house; however, she allows her house to remain in its poor state because she is not prepared to move on from the past.
Miss Emily’s desolate, atypical personality can be determined through Faulkner’s use of both direct, and indirect characterization. Faulkner writes, “After her father’s death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all.” This is strange because most people of the town venture out frequently. Miss Emily appears to live a lonely life because she is psychologically damaged due to her father’s death, as well as the disappearance of her lover. Due to her possible depression, she prefers not to enter the outside world; this is viewed as strange by the other townspeople. Faulkner employs direct characterization when he describes Miss Emily as “A sort of hereditary obligation upon the town,” which displays the townspeople’s disinterest in Miss...