The purpose of this essay is to describe and reflect on the vast array of emotions revealed by the tone in the short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. The obvious tones used in “A Rose for Emily” is a sense of fear, curiosity, gloom and terror along with the more subtle irony, guilt, and complicity and resistance to change.
Faulkner’s layout for this story was genius he left elusive clues for the reader with the use of foreshadowing and flashbacks yet the complex chronology added to the mystery and for some added confusion. Falkner manipulates time and stretches the story over several decades in the southern town of Jefferson after the Civil War. The distinctive narrative point of view draws the reader in. The only information divulged about the narrator is that they are a speaker for the town and pass judgment both for and against Emily Grierson. Towards the beginning the narrator is annoyed and influenced by the arrogant and aristocratic lifestyle Emily lives; the narrator declares” at last they could pity Miss Emily being left alone and a pauper. She had become humanized. Now she too would know the old thrill of the old despair of a penny more or less” (Albcarian et al, 2002, p.652). In the end of the story, the narrator is symbolically giving her a “rose” by telling her bizarre story with remorse and compassion. The symbolic rose is what makes this story ironic Emily’s life was actually full of thorns. No man tried to court Emily they were never good enough in the eyes of her father it was clear he had unattainable standards. When her father died, he left her with financial issues. Since Emily was born into an extremely wealthy family when the town needed financial support, her father would loan it to them. There was no agreement or will constructed after her father’s death so the younger generation of the town along with the new mayor Colonel Sarntoris requested she at least pay taxes yet she refused .Around that time she had met ordinary man a foreman named Homer Barron . A woman of her status should not be seen with the likes of him and their relationship is immediately rejected by the town and stirs up some viscious rumors told by the narrator:
When she had first begun to be seen with Homer Barron, we had said, “She will marry him.” Then we said, ”She will persuade him yet,” because Homer himself remarked – he liked men, and it was known that he drank with younger men in the Elks Club – that he was not a marrying man.(653).
The gloom and terror that is tied to this story comes from the vivid imagery and the descriptive word choices created by Faulkner in the story it describes a decaying mansion, a rotten corpse and the most disturbing of all necrophilia. The narrator notes that her house that was once grand is now old and worn:
It was a big squarish framed house that had once been painted white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what...