A Rose For Emily Dust Analysis

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The critical article Uncovering the Past: The Role of Dust Imagery in A ROSE FOR EMILY, written by Audrey Binder analyzes the role dust plays as a symbolist element throughout the text: A Rose For Emily by William Faulkner. Binder argues in her article that dust is used as imagery to show how the past and present intermingle, and how time warps the perception of our memories, and the perception of truth. Binder goes on to make three main points: that dust is used to obscure yet preserve past events, that dust is unaffected by time just as the influence of Emily’s father, and the juxtaposition of accumulating dust to human’s perception of time, and treatment of the past. While Binder’s interpretation of this motif is mostly correct in her…show more content…
Binder’s depicts dust as a peaceful buffer by quoting Faulkner’s words, “even coating of the patient and biding dust”. Binder shouldn’t assume that Faulkner was being completely literal. Faulkner uses the literary device of a loosely structured form of verbal irony because Faulkner believes his audience will understand that he is contrasting the literal meaning of words like patient with the understood meaning of smothering. Just as Emily’s love for Homer was smothering rather than securing, as is the blanket of dust covering Homers body. Dust is used to distort reality rather than provide a peaceful buffer, as Binder claims. For example “the house filled with dust and shadows” (87) used to describe the scene of Emily’s death distorts reality by showing Emily’s father’s presence even in her dying hour. While her father may no longer physically exist in reality,…show more content…
Even when Emily’s family and townspeople come to live with her, or help her, nothing can be done about the accumulation of dust in her life. Her father’s influence on Emily’s life had no beginning or end. He existed before she was born, and lives on in the old house as dust and darkness after her death. The dust is always there and is a continuous presence throughout the story as is her father’s influence of control. The existence of power a name holds in society also withstands time, as Emily was never prosecuted for refusing to pay taxes, and it was never even assumed that she could possibly have killed her lover, Homer due to her aristocratic background. However, some characters in the story are affected by time and the efforts of people. Homer, for example, did not remain a continuous presence throughout the story; rather he had a definite beginning and end, therefore being affected by time. Time is in a way subject to control… if one can create another’s end, as Emily did with Homer, then people can affect time itself, it just depends on the

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