Most critics incorrectly consider the narrator, who uses "we" as though speaking for the entire town, to be young, impressionable, and male; however, on close examination, we realize that the narrator is not young and is never identified as being either male or female. Consider the opening sentence of the story and the reasons given for the townspeople's attending Miss Emily's funeral: Do the men remember her with affection?
The more recently flourishing discussion of the narration has centered on the narrative voice, whether it is distinct from or coincident with the voice or voices of the town.
Those readers who have made strong arguments for a distinct persona have differed widely in characterizing it. Nicklaus Happel, for example, believes that the narrator is somewhat aloof from the town and that, in the course of his narrative, he shows sympathy for Emily to atone for past neglect.
On this question, also, there is little agreement. Is Emily a black widow who devours her unsuspecting lover? A desperate and slightly crazed spinster who kills to possess him?
Denied natural outlets for her emotions, perhaps she is forced into madness or a fantasy world? Is she a victim, then, of time, the town, her father, or her own repressed sexuality? Others suggest that our feelings should be mixed.
Such varied disagreement about our basic responses to the story may indicate that it, like "The Turn of the Screw," simply does not seem to allow us to reach a single definitive understanding.
On the other hand, it may be that we have been asking the wrong questions or asking our questions in the wrong way. Let us then attempt to look at "A Rose for Emily" from a slightly different point of view, keeping in mind the major questions that have puzzled other critics, but also trying to find new or, at least, untried questions that might help to increase our understanding and appreciation.
Beginning with section one, let us look closely at the text and our responses to it. The first sentence introduces the antagonists: When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: Such a construction used by an artist who compared the short story to the lyric poem in its demands for exactness and economy, should lead us to suspect that the town may require as much of our attention as Emily.
The town comes to her funeral, not in grief to mourn the passing of a beloved member of the community, but out of curiosity and respect for a defunct institution.
In the first sentence, we are already disposed to side with Emily as a victim for there is no evidence that she is regarded with deserved hate or disgust. On the contrary, she seems to have been a pillar of the community. Although the second paragraph seems to move our attention from Emily and the town to her house -- a house such as we often see in Gothic Romances -- we are shown a similar set of antagonists.
The house appears to be the victim of the town, too. Having been surrounded by commercial interests, it is "stubborn and coquettish" in its decay. The last sentence of the paragraph suggests that Emily's removal to the cemetery is parallel to the house's removal from selectness.
The house stands in a neighborhood of obliterated august names as her grave is among "the ranked and anonymous" graves of Civil War soldiers.
The parallel works in reverse also, suggesting that the house is a kind of tomb. In each case, Emily and her house are not the agents but the victims. Of what are they the victims? The house seems clearly to be decaying, a victim of time, yet it may not necessarily be a natural process that changes the most select street to a commercial area.
As Emily's house is invaded by the townspeople in the first paragraph, so her neighborhood is invaded by commercial interests rather than preserved for the value it may once have had.
It is suggested, then, that the men's "respectful affection" is a hollow emotion, hollow as would be the suggestion that her house is still standing because of the town's sentimental nostalgia. There is also in this second paragraph a curious statement, the judgment that the house is "an eyesore among eyesores.The Telltale Hair: A Critical Study of William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" During the more than four decades since the first publication of William Faulkner's story "A Rose for Emily," two general questions seem to have attracted significant critical attention.
30, Faulkner says that "the short story is the most demanding form after. A Rose for Emily. William Faulkner Author Biography.
Plot Summary. Characters. Themes. Style. Historical Context. Critical Overview. Criticism. Sources. Further Reading.
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” was originally published in the April 30, , issue of Forum. It was his first short story published in a major magazine. Jun 05, · Miss Emily Grierson, the main character in William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily,” is definitely an odd character by the standards of an average reader.
The character analysis of Miss Emily could follow any number of roads. A Comparison of Lover, Murder and Revenge in Faulkner's Short Story a Rose for Emily and Dubiss Story Killings.
"A Rose for Emily" is a short story by American author William Faulkner, first published in the April 30, , issue of The Forum.
The story takes place in Faulkner's fictional city, Jefferson, Mississippi, in the fictional southern county of Yoknapatawpha. It was Faulkner's first short story . Activities and Handouts for the Short Story "A Rose for Emily" This is a unit for the short story "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner which is a Southern Gothic short story.
I've used this story numerous times with my high school students.