Point of View in "A Rose for Emily"

Topics: Short story, Fiction, William Faulkner Pages: 2 (584 words) Published: March 24, 2008
Point of View in “A Rose for Emily”

A short story fiction is used to understand the complications involved in literary fiction. Point of view, an aspect in fiction will help a reader understand how the author has structured the events in the story. In the short story “A Rose for Emily,” the narrator, William Faulkner uses a first person character to reveal the story of Miss Emily. He unfolds the story through hear-say, gossip, and through the townspeople he also keeps the readers in the dark until the sickening conclusion is exposed.

William Faulkner’s use of hear-say in his short story, “A Rose for Emily” was when the town and the narrator learned of her purchases at the jewelers. “We learned that Miss Emily had been to the jewelers and ordered a man’s toilet set in silver, with the letters H.B. on each piece. Two days later we learned that she had bought a complete outfit of men’s clothing, including a night shirt” (319). This leads the town to speculate that Miss Emily will marry Homer Barron. “When she had first begun to be seen with Homer Barron, we had said, she will marry him” (319). It was important for the narrator to use gossip in the telling of the story, to show the thoughts of the town people and the narrator. The use of the pronoun “we” was to describe the narrator and the townspeople.

William Faulkner’s use of gossip was told in many first person character speculations. When the town learns that Miss Emily had purchased arsenic, they started to gossip by saying, “So the next day we all said, ‘She will kill herself’; Then we said, ‘She will persuade him yet’ because Homer himself had remarked-he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks Clun- that he was not a marrying man” (319). With this in consideration, there could be multiple endings. Miss Emily could have purchased the arsenic to kill herself, because of the lack of love, or to kill Homer Barron to keep him with her.

In the end Miss Emily died, and...

Cited: Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” Literature and the Writing Process. 8th ed. Elizabeth
McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. 315-321.
“A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner: Introduction.” Short Story Criticism. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg. Vol. 42. Gale Group, Inc., 2006. 19 Feb, 2008
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