William Faulkner: "A Rose for Emily".
In "A Rose for Emily," William Faulkner's use of imagery sets a tone for the general theme of the story, death. A rose to most is seen as an object of beauty, with such a sweet smell. In this story, we see Emily much like the rose, an object of beauty and desire that soon begins to wither and die. Faulkner, through great use of imagery, paints a vivid of a dying rose, Miss Emily.
Faulkner starts the story by vividly describing the way in which Emily's family was revered in the town. Emily was given the highest respect in a time when " no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron." Emily became identified in the town as a "tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation." At this point in her life Emily is like the blossoming rose. The people of the town not only respected Miss Emily they seemed to be afraid of her. Faulkner in the start of the story then goes on to describe the nature of Emily's build, " a small, fat woman in black leaning on an ebony cane." In our culture, we have come to view an old woman of this statue with high respect and admiration.
Faulkner then takes us from an image of an old lady who is highly respected to one that is seen as one to be pitied. After the death of her father and the desertion of her sweetheart, the town starts to "feel really sorry for her." Like a rose she starts to wilt from lack of nutrients. There was no sign of life around the Emily's home. Many thought she would do just like her great-aunt and go completely crazy. .
Then Emily, like a revitalized rose, then springs forth again. Emily remembers her "noblesse oblige" and begins to " look like a girl." Miss Emily is then seen in the company of a male friend, Homer Barron. We then see Miss Emily on a Sunday afternoon "in a glittering buggy with her head high." We see Emily vital and full of life again. .
In the next couple of years, Miss Emily then turns back into the withering flower she once was.