Rather than stating the true meaning of his works, William Faulkner generally uses symbolism to portray the depth of his tales. Throughout the story "A Rose For Emily," time is a continuous theme that is portrayed through symbols. The past, present, and future are represented by different people, places, and things. One of which such symbols, the main character herself, represents the essence of the past through her father, her house, and her lover.
Historically, the Grierson name was one of the most respected names in Jefferson. Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Grierson played various roles in the community to further the reputation of his name and to earn his family a great deal of honor. He also, however, had and air of superiority about him. His attitude toward women, as evident in the treatment of his daughter, reflects his old-fashioned ways and his inability, or his lack of desire, to move on into the future.
Throughout Miss Emily's childhood, her father believed that "none of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily." Mr. Grierson did not allow his grown daughter, even at the age of thirty, to make her own decisions. Moreover, he did not feel it was her place to act on her own behalf. Miss Emily willingly accepted her role in the household. The name and the attitudes that Mr. Grierson passed on to his daughter Emily symbolically opposed the change that was going on around them.
Even after his death, Miss Emily kept her father's decaying body in the house. Following in her father's footsteps, she clung tightly to the past telling everyone in the town he was still alive and refusing to accept the her father's death. Although the law intervened and buried her father, the "crayon portrait of Miss Emily's...