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This controversial and provocative short story by William Faulkner is a lucky catch for academics, who have tried to grasp its subtle message ever since it was published for the first time. Promoting the idea that people should move on with their lives, ‘A Rose for Emily’ is dubbed as the brightest creation of the eccentric author. And its prominent position in the literary world gave rise to the abundance of ‘A Rose for Emily’ argumentative essay topics, the most noteworthy of which we are about to cover in this article!
Key Symbols in ‘A Rose for Emily’
No matter what topic you choose, you can’t ignore the story’s symbolism. Many objects the author describes play a significant role in how readers perceive the main characters.
The House of Emily
The house is, first of all, a symbol of money. Emily’s father had accrued enough resources after the Civil War to build a mansion. Faulkner describes it as an “eyesore among eyesores,” perhaps an indication of the author’s distaste for conspicuous displays of wealth. In all likelihood, the money came from the labor of enslaved people.
The house is also a symbol of Emily’s isolation. She dreams about sharing it with someone she loves and to live a long, happy life there. However, she ends up locked up in the house with a rotting corpse and rarely leaves its invisible confines. The house becomes a prison for her. It is something completely opposite to the things she aspired to in the past.
When the author describes the ticking of Emily’s pocket watch, it may symbolize Emily’s time running out. With every minute passing by, her chance for happiness fades. Shedesperately tries to live in a fictional reality, one where she happily sleeps next to the man she loves (town representatives learn this when they find her hair next to Homer’s corpse).
Hair is another important symbol. It represents time as the town first tells time by Emily’s hair (as it turns gray) and then by Tobe’s hair. Also, the gray hair found on the pillow by Homer’s corpse tells readers that Emily might have been sleeping next to him for all these years. Her hair had not beengray when Homer died.
Even though the story does not mention a physical rose, scholars continue to argue about what it might symbolize. At the end of this article, you will find an explanation from William Faulkner himself. For now, here are some possible answers to this question. A rose is usually a symbol of love. It might symbolize Emily’s aspiration for love. Roses also have thorns. These area way of defending and distancing the flowers from predators. Like a rose, Emily isolates herself from other people and shows that she can be dangerous.
‘A Rose for Emily’ Essay Topics
- ‘A Rose for Emily’ through the feminist perspective.
- ‘Rappaccini’s Daughter’ and ‘A Rose for Emily’: comparing the stories.
- The representation of socieconomic classes of the 1920s American South in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- The gothic motives in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- The psychological portrait of Emily in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- The comparison of Miss Brill and Miss Emily in ‘Miss Brill’ and ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- The concept of a rose in ‘A Rose for Emily’ as the leading stylistic device of the story.
- Emily’s house as the metaphor for the woman’s secluded and unchanging life.
- How ‘A Rose for Emily’ approaches traditions.
- ‘A Rose for Emily’: the story of the human heart being in sharp conflict with itself.
- The criticism of the American South in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- The political, economical, and social backgrounds of ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- The stark theme of imprisonment in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- Emily as the symbol of the Old South.
- The device of foreshadowing in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
‘A Rose for Emily’ Research Paper Topics
- The destructive impact of society on Emily in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- Social stigmas and prejudices as the driving forces of the protagonist’s deviant behavior.
- The implementation of the POV technique in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- The role of the symbolism in ‘A Rose for Emily’ in making the story artistically valuable.
- The rich imagery in ‘A Rose for Emily’ and what function its elements carry.
- The types of revenge used by the characters of ‘A Rose for Emily.’ The effects each of these types has.
- Comparing ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘A Rose for Emily’: the use of literary elements.
- The relevance of the ideas highlighted in ‘A Rose for Emily’ today.
- The symbolism in ‘A Rose for Emily’ as the tool for portraying the South during the reconstruction period.
- The unwavering resistance to changes embodied by Emily in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- The controversial character of Emily in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- The problem of the severe generation gap in ‘A Rose for Emily.’
- ‘A Rose for Emily’ as a bright representation of the Southern Gothic genre.
- The macrocosmic setting of the South and the microcosmic setting of Emily’s house as the two major aspects that enhance the psychological landscape of the story.
- The influence of the cultural setting on the characters of ‘A Rose for Emily.’
To Wrap Up
‘A Rose for Emily’ is reckoned to be one of the outstanding stories of the South Gothic genre as well as one of the most prominent literary creations featuring the conflict between the future and the past. In this regard, it makes sense that the story earned so much admiration from readers impressed with its thrilling plot and academics who can’t get enough of studying the story in terms of its philosophical and psychological value. And this is what makes ‘A Rose for Emily’ argumentative essay topics so valuable and worthy!
Interesting Facts About ‘A Rose for Emily’
- It is a story about a ghost. Well, in a way. The author refers to it as a ‘ghost story’ because Emily becomes entrapped in her house and lives by the memories of the past.
- There are hot debates about the meaning of the story’s title. The author himself has said that the rose in the title symbolizes his sympathy for Emily. She had to go through a lot. There is nothing that can be done about the tragedy that happened. The only way to support Emily is to present a rose to her.
- You can listen to several songs based on the short story. The Zombies have a song called ‘A Rose for Emily’ in their album ‘Odessey and Oracle.’ Another song is ‘To the End’ by My Chemical Romance. This song tells the story of a man who dates a woman but looks at other men – as was the case with Homer.
- William Faulkner never received his high school diploma. He went on to attend university but dropped out after studying for three semesters.
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