William Faulkners A Rose For Emily portrays a post-modern culture of the old south. More specific in this story, images of death are fashioned by Faulkners use of symbolism. However, in an unintentional and seemingly chronological way, death is symbolic within the past, present and future in the form of the stench, the house, and the arsenic. When anything becomes a stench, either rotting or decomposition are occurring. As many of the townsfolk observed, a stench arose from Ms. Emilys estate. The stench presented here is a phenomenal symbol for the death that has occurred.
Little did the townsfolk suspect, but Ms. Emily had willingly killed her lover. Now with the aroma of death wafting throughout the air within the house, it can be analyzed how the house becomes a disease to all retained by its confinement. Everything within the house, from the cracked, leather furniture to the moldy spawning throughout the realm of the house, almost feels as if death were living between everyone, even in the exact moment. Faulkner symbolized the death that exists within the present through the description of the house.
With the past and present represented, Faulkner could not dare to leave out the future form. Faulkner graces his readers with yet another symbol, but this time, however, he adds a bit of suspense on top of the entire plot. When Emily ventured into town to visit the pharmacist, death was already on her mind. With the arsenic she bought, many living things could be killed by its usage, whether it be some rats or just one big rat in particular, the only lover she had that was about to leave her side.
Just as the reader could predict, the arsenic was the symbol for the death to come in the future. In conclusion, Faulkners use of symbolism comes alive in the form of the stench, the house and the arsenic. All of these can be seen as a way for death to be duly represented within the past, present and future tense. As for Ms. Emily, she too would stand to face her maker. One point to be made: no matter whom the individual, death is inevitable. It comes to all, some in less horrifying ways than others.