Summary and Analysis: "A Rose for Emily" Glossary


cupolas Small, domed structures on roofs.

spires Structures that taper to a point at the top; pinnacles.

perpetuity For an indefinite amount of time; forever.

aldermen Members of a local legislative body; city council members.

gilt Easel a gold, upright frame, or tripod, usually used to display a painting — in this case, Miss Emily's crayon picture of her father.

crayons Sticks of colored chalk, or pastels, were called crayons in this era.

invisible watch Miss Emily's watch is described as "vanishing into her waist"; symbolically, time has vanished for Miss Emily.

diffident deprecation Timid disapproval.

lime Also called quicklime, this white and odorless substance has many uses, including masking foul odors.

tableaux A living representation of stock photographs of the era; however, in those photographs, the virginal-looking young woman in the background was usually a new bride, and the authoritarian man was usually a grim husband.

spraddled Straddled, or sprawled.

noblesse oblige Honorable behavior, considered to be the responsibility of persons of high birth or rank, to members of the lower class.

rustling of craned silk and satin The reference is to women in high-necked silk and satin dresses, "craning" their necks to spy on Miss Emily and Homer Barron.

Elks' Club A social organization that supports a variety of youth activities; persons who apply for membership must be U.S. citizens and must be sponsored by an Elks' Club member.

jalousies Blinds or shutters that have adjustable horizontal slats; today, similar fixtures are known as mini-blinds.

a man's toilet set A mirror, brush, and comb.

cabal A secret group.

bier A stand on which a coffin is placed before burial.

sibilant voices Conversations containing hissing sounds, such as voicing many words with the letter "s."

valance Curtains ornamental drapery hung across the top edges of windows.