In "A Rose for Emily" we are guided through the life of Miss Emily Grierson, a newly departed spinster who has led quite an isolated life. She has always been regarded as a bit eccentric, but it wasn't until after her death, and the finding of a rotting corps in her bed, that people fully understood the magnitude of her eccentricity.
The story takes place in a town called Jefferson, situated in the southern states, some time after the civil war, possibly in the early 1920s when the southern states have gone through considerable changes over a relatively short period of time.
"A Rose for Emily" is told in a third person point of view, with a narrator telling the story in retrospect. Although the narrator isn't an actual character in the story, he is very much involved. When speaking of the town he often uses the term "our", indicating that he is an inhabitant of the town, or perhaps just chosen by the author as the voice of the town. On the contrary to the usual effect of a third person point of view, this doesn't create a distance between the reader and the story, since the narrator to a large extent is part of the events. However, this does not mean that the author doesn't create at distance, but since the narrator is limited and can only fully portray the thoughts and opinions of the townspeople, the distance occurs between the reader and Miss Emily. We are never able to get inside Miss Emily's head, instead our image of her is formed by the narrator's comments about her, the comments and attitudes of the townspeople, as well as fragments of conversations between Miss Emily and other characters. All descriptions are in other words external.
Since "A Rose for Emily" is somewhat a life story, Miss Emily Grierson becomes the main character. However she differs from how one usually pictures the main character. Often the main character is the character that develops as the story progresses. This does not apply in "A Rose for Emily". There is no point where she suddenly becomes more insightful and certainly no climax where she suddenly understands everything and all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. In this story a climax concerning her development might prove to be difficult since she is dead throughout the story. All that is able to develop is the townspeople's understanding of her. And the climax, which comes at the very
end, is when they are finally able to see the whole picture. For the first time they can understand her, or perhaps understand that it is impossible to fully comprehend her.
Miss Emily is described as a person with difficulty keeping up with changes. It is said that the men of Jefferson regarded her as "a fallen monument", a description which to a great extent coincide with the description of her house. "it was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome...