Study Question for “A Rose for Emily”
1. What details foreshadow the conclusion of the story? Could the ending be anticipated?
2. What is the significance of the narrator’s use of "we" to tell the story? What values does the narrator appear to hold? Are there points in the story where he offers his own commentary? How does it affect your experience of the story?
3. What is the significance of the title? Do you think the dropping of “Miss” from the protagonist’s name has any significance?
4. Develop a list of the descriptive details associated with Emily: her appearance, surroundings, the way in which she appears to the townspeople, etc. What does Emily represent for the townspeople and the narrator?
5. What is the conflict in this story? If Miss Emily is the protagonist, who is the antagonist?
6. What elements can you associate in “A Rose for Emily” with Gothic traditions normally found in horror or mystery stories?
7. Construct a timeline of the major plot events. When did Homer Barron die? How did he die? Why is the story structured in the way that it is?
8. In paragraphs 1 and 2, the author speaks of buildings and structures while describing Miss Emily as a fallen monument. Where else do related images occur? If Miss Emily is a fallen monument, to what is she a monument?
9. How does the narrator influence our attitudes about Emily as the story progresses? Does our interpretation of the narrator's views change at any point when we do a second (or more) reading of the story?
10. If you were to write an obituary for Emily Grierson, considering the town's attitudes about her and the ending of the story, what would you include?
11. What factors shaped (or warped) Emily Grierson's personality? Brainstorm a list, and then pick out most influential ones.
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