What Does Tobe Symbolize In A Rose For Emily

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The short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner expresses a great period of modernization. Emily Grierson, after a peaceful death, leaves her home to the rest of the city. Upon death, Emily’s property is left with no close relations and upholds a mysterious murder. Could “poor” Emily Grierson murder her presumed betrothed? Throughout the story, many symbols such as the Grierson home, a powerful family history, Tobe the slave, and the long strand of hair combine to create the complete vision of a modernizing world as she is trapped in the past and can only escape reformation through death. Emily Grierson’s home was of a “squarish frame” and was an “eye sore among eyesores” (par 2). Its lack of appeal and complete unattractiveness in…show more content…
Her “august name” unpleasantly represents a generation of power held by long lines of family blood that is attempted to be kept pure (par 2). As she is the last of the Grierson family line and she begins to wither away, she symbolizes the end of powerful family names. Tobe, her slave, is also of a dying race. Tobe is the only human seen entering and leaving the Grierson home for many years. Working for and as the Grierson’s, Tobe symbolizes how slaves are actual people too, and at times they can be more powerful than their masters. After Emily dies “he walked right through the house and out the back and was not seen again” which also foreshadows how African Americans will soon be able to live their own lives and will not be controlled by a slaveholder (par…show more content…
Homer, however, is somewhat of a curious man as there is little revealed of him. Homer, himself, symbolizes one of the men from this foreshadowed, modernized world. To emphasize how he is modern, Homer is seen “at the center of the group” whenever there is a lot of laughing (par 30). This attempts to predict the happiness amongst the American people (sadly WWI and WWII were not foreseen) even though Homer was disliked by many “old people” (representing the past relation to the north) of the city (par 32). Also, it was true that “he liked men” which, at the time, would have led to his expulsion from the city (par 43). However, the young folk took a liking to him as they drank with him at the Elk’s Club (this also shows a change in the people’s views). As Emily dies and Homer’s body is discovered, the “long strand of iron-gray hair” is found near Homer’s decaying body (par 60). This reveals the love that she has for Homer Barron. As she desperately attempted to stay true to her “august” family she wanted to love him, but in order to do so she had to kill him and eventually, this killed her as well. The final hair that caressed the pillow beside him symbolized the last effort that remained her to continue tragic love. Likewise, her hair stood for the last strength remaining of her family line and the period before

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