Literary Analysis of “a Rose for Emily”

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Literary Analysis of “A Rose For Emily”

The short story, “A Rose for Emily”, by William Faulkner, is told by an unnamed narrator and broken into five sections. The story is not chronological, but completely out of order, adding mystery and climax. The first section begins with the death of the main character, Emily Grierson, and relates the thoughts and actions of the small Southern U.S. town. A flawed relationship between the town and Miss Emily is seen throughout the story. The tension between the town (society) and Emily is a main reason for her recluse and insanity.

It is evident from the first line of the story that there is a connection between Miss Emily Grierson and the town she lived in. The opening sentence states that when Emily died the whole town went to her funeral, “the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house” (391). This comparison between the men and women attending her funeral attests to the complex relationship between Emily and the town. The men represent the pity people in the town felt for her, while the women express the coldness towards Emily. The second paragraph of the story also begins with a portrayal of the relationship between the town and Emily. The narrator states, “Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (391).

The second section of the short story retreats back in chronology and begins to explain Emily’s life before people in the town complained about “the smell” (392). The interaction between Emily and the town changes considerably at this point in her life. Before her father’s death, the town was hostile towards Emily and her father. People in the town believed “that the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were” (393). Without knowing it, the town was highlighting her problems, and affecting her mental stability. They were angry and...
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