An Analysis of 'a Rose for Emily'

Topics: Narrative, First-person narrative, Style Pages: 12 (4875 words) Published: June 3, 2005
I. Implied author of the story
„A Rose for Emily", a story of horror first published in 1930, is considered by many scholars one of the most authentic and the best narratives ever written by William Faulkner. It is a story of a woman, Emily Grierson, and her relationships with her father, the man she was in love with and the community of Jefferson, the town she lived in. While discussing any narrative text it is crucial to mention the implied author of a text. As Wayne C. Booth, the most famous follower of the Chicago School believed, it is possible and acceptable to "interpret and criticize the narrative worlds of literary works without stepping beyond the limits of the text and falling victim to a ‘fallacy'" , without confusing the narrator with the implied author. Even though the plot or characters may be clearly described in literary works, only by interpretation can their "intended nature" be determined and the concept of an implied author is the one to bring together both: description and interpretation. There are many variations of the concept of an implied author, however most of them usually come down to two suggestions: first, that the implied author is a nexus of values and norms in the textual world and second, that he selects and orders the elements of narrative texts . Thus, it may be said that through the mentioned selection (of, for example, the narrator, the title, the symbols or the language of events) and ordering the implied author passes on the information which the implied reader needs for the interpretation of the text. In this way, every literary text, as in this case "A Rose for Emily", becomes a form of communication between the writer and the reader. The aforementioned information may be passed in various ways, two of them being the structure of the narrative text and its title. The title of "A Rose for Emily" is ambiguous. As there are no roses in the story, it may be safely assumed that the title is purely symbolic, however the meaning of this particular symbol remains unclear for readers. The word "rose" brings to mind a flower of a deep red colour, beautiful, but always surrounded by thorns. Red colour may symbolize love and passion, but it is also the colour of hate and revenge. Therefore, the rose may be the symbol of Emily's feelings, her passion towards Homer, her desperation, as well as the darker, though not less passionate, side of her personality which eventually lets the protagonist find a way to keep the love of her life forever by her side. It may be also the symbol of a true, reciprocated love which Emily never experienced, even though she probably dreamt about it for her entire life. The rose in the title is not the only symbol in the story, though. There are others, which play equally important roles in the narrative, as their task is to let readers get to know the protagonist from the only possible point of view: the external one. This issue will be discussed in more details in the remaining chapters of this work; however it needs to be mentioned that throughout the entire story, readers never come to know Miss Emily Grierson's thoughts and feelings. They rather come to certain conclusions about her, thanks to the subtle clues which the implied author leaves for them to discover. Such a clue may be, for example, the crayon portrait of Emily's father, standing near the fireplace on the day of her funeral, as it stood thirty days earlier, symbolizing Miss Grierson's unwillingness to let go of the past, to leave the authority of her father behind, to forget about the only man who had such a great influence on her life and to be truly alive for once. Another symbol providing readers with valid information about the protagonist is the Grierson's family home. In a very interesting way the reader is presented with an image of a house which immediately brings to mind its occupant, Miss Emily:

"It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated […], set on...
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