In the short story “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner (79-84), Emily Grierson has no concept of time. She is living in the past and refuses to accept the death of her father. She lives in an isolated fantasy where she convinces herself that her father is still alive. Emily has no intentions of accepting reality. She refuses to acknowledge the death of her father and also the death of her lover, Homer. Her character could be perceived as psychotic because she has lost contact with reality and murdered her lover. Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado” (144-149), has many similar themes. The concept of time is prominent because Montresor is telling his story fifty years after it occurred. He is also living with death when he murders Fortunato and has to live with it for the rest of his life. He is not a reliable narrator because he is also mentally deranged and leaves important details out of his story. The concepts of time, death and character are dominant in these stories and are related to what is perceived as normal and abnormal.
Time is an important concept that is critical to both of these stories. Emily Grierson struggles with the death of her father and convinces herself that he is still alive. She will not face reality and instead lives in a simpler and more traditional time where she feels comfortable. The watch that Emily wears around her neck symbolizes how Emily is living in a different time. When she is visited by tax collectors, she proves to them that she has no concept of time. “See Colonel Sartoris.” (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) “I have no taxes in Jefferson” (80). Emily is unaware that Colonel Sartoris has been dead for nearly ten years because she does not pay attention to current events and instead focuses on the past. This story is also told through
flashbacks which are memories from the past. The use of flashbacks in the story further acknowledges the fact that Emily lives in an earlier time.
Bibliography: Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 2nd ed. Robert DiYanni. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 1592. Print. Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Cask of Amontillado.” Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 2nd ed. Robert DiYanni. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 1592. Print.