Narrative Worth In A Rose For Emily

1298 words - 5 pages

In “ A Rose for Emily”, William Faulkner tells the complex tale of a woman who is battered by time and unable to move through life after the loss of each significant male figure in her life. Unlike Disney Stories, there is no prince charming to rescue fallen princess, and her assumed misery becomes the subject of everyone in the town of Jefferson, Mississippi. As the townspeople gossip about her and develop various scenarios to account for her behaviors and the unknown details of her life, Emily Grierson serves as a scapegoat for the lower classes to validate their lives. In telling this story, Faulkner decides to take an unusual approach; he utilizes a narrator to convey the details of a first-person tale, by examining chronology, the role of the narrator and the interpretations of “A Rose for Emily”, it can be seen that this story is impossible to tell without a narrator.
As Faulkner begins “A Rose for Emily” with death of Emily, he both immediately and intentionally obscures the chronology of the short story to create a level of distance between the reader and the story and to capture the reader’s attention. Typically, the reader builds a relationship with each character in the story because the reader goes on a journey with the character. In “A Rose for Emily”, Faulkner “weaves together the events of Emily’s life” is no particular order disrupting the journey for the reader (Burg, Boyle and Lang 378). Instead, Faulkner creates a mandatory alternate route for the reader. He “sends the reader on a dizzying voyage by referring to specific moments in time that have no central referent, and thus the weaves the past into the present, the present into the past. “Since the reader is denied this connection with the characters, the narrator is essential for the reader as a central figure to which the reader may attempt to connect. Even though the story is about Emily, her death leaves the reader with only the option to learn about the deceased Emily through the third party.
In addition, Faulkner uses the skewed timeline to capture the reader. Since the reader is expecting a chronological tale, the reader pays attention to the use of time. As Faulkner begins with the death of Emily, the reader expects the upcoming events to succeed Emily. Faulkner uses the expectations of the reader to create the voyage by immediately shrouding the reader’s expectations with various, disruptive links to time such as “ in last ten years,” “that day in 1894,” and the “next generation” (Faulkner 668). This method leaves “a residue to be organized by the reader (Perry 36). As the reader becomes more involves, suspense follows inherently. If this story were told from perspective of Emily, it would make sense for her to tell the story chronologically. Unless Emily is stricken also with Alzheimer’s disease or another memory-losing ailment, it is illogical for Emily to tell the story in a distorted order. Even if Emily did have illness, this changes the nature thus...

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