Faulkner guides us through his short story “A Rose for Miss Emily”, with his own unique form of third person limited narration. This narration allows the audience to follow the opinions of the narrator and develop the mindset the author desires his audience to have. Specifically, William’s choice to begin the story with the description of Emily’s funeral gives the reader a sort of inherent sympathy for Miss Emily, which we, the readers, naturally carry through the story as we build our opinion of Emily.
Faulkner then continues to build shape our opinion of Emily through the metaphorical comparison of her with a “Fallen Monument.” Such a comparison unsurprisingly leads the reader to think of Miss Emily as some sort of tarnished noble, or more appropriately, a tarnished aristocrat. The idea that Miss Emily is part of the aristocracy is then explicitly reinforced with the description of Miss Emily’s residence in the second paragraph (Page 391 Norton Introduction to Literature). Such a “big, squarish frame” (Page 391 Norton) house would not be something owned by anyone of mediocre social class, especially a woman of anything less than upper class when the contextual timeline of this piece is consulted. Faulkner’s pitiful description of the house leads the audience, yet again, to have a sense of pity for her.
With the continuation of the story we begin to realize that the townspeople’s feelings are congruent with the feelings the reader is being coerced into realizing. “Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town”(Page 391 Norton). This niche as a “tradition, a duty” allows Miss Emily to qualify for some questionable privileges, beginning with the remittance of her taxes by the quite infamously described Colonel Sartoris. These privileges seemed to give Miss Emily an undue feeling of entitlement, from which proved to be fertile soil for her unbreakable iron will.
With the combination of her aristocratic status and iron will, it began to seem as if not even those with authority could persuade her, or even force her into submitting to their wishes. In short, Miss Emily had no regard for the social regulations that were set in place. “When the next generation, with its more modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen” became quite “unsatisfied” with Emily’s freedom to elude the payment of taxes they took what they thought was appropriate action. Their first informal letter yielded no reply from the secluded Grierson, even their formal letter was ignored by her. When the town’s board finally received a reply on their third attempt, this time by the mayor himself, it still paid little notice to the fact that they wanted to consult her on her taxes. In fact the taxes were not even addressed within this reply, but rather the notice sent back as if it were something that didn’t rightfully belong to her. Finally when the “deputation waited upon her” outside her door, she allowed them a fraction of her...