William Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily- focuses on the life of Emily Grierson and how she became a monument and symbol of tradition in her town. As a young respectable black woman, Emily was protected by her father who wanted to marry her to a rich husband, yet never found one who appeased him. After her father passed away, she fell in love with a Yankee named Homer, rebelling against the traditions her father upheld. Emily greatly deteriorated after Homer's death and became a mysterious recluse to the townspeople - a woman holed up in a once magnificent house that occasionally omitted a strange smell and whose only visible resident was a black butler. .
Faulkner uses symbolism and diction to convey Emily's dynamic changes as she ages, showing her unwillingness to accept new ways of life and her need to preserve the things she holds most dear, even until death; however, this meant murdering her fiancé Homer, so not to lose the one person she had the chance to love, which kept her stuck in the past. .
The main symbol used to represent Emily and her aging is her house. When she was young, her house was on the most popular street, which was "decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies- which represent her youth, wealth, and the grandeur of the south (483). However, as time passed and the south was no longer a powerful influence, the house became an "eyesore among eyesores- in the neighborhood - the last representation of its rich past and Emily's power after her father passed away (483). Even though her father is a flat character in the story, he perpetuated Emily's solidarity by driving possible suitors away, so when he died she wanted to "cling to that which had robbed her- by not burying him right away (485). With her father's death, Emily also transcended into poverty; her only link to money, power, and protection vanished except for the house, and the town finally viewed Emily as no exception to everyday life hurdles.