A Rose for Emily - Forshadowing

Topics: Short story, William Faulkner, Joyce Carol Oates Pages: 2 (608 words) Published: April 15, 2014
In “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner includes multiple situations to foreshadow the short story’s ending when Homer Barron’s decomposed corpse is discovered. Faulkner makes it very clear to readers as the short story progresses, by addressing the smell, the poison, and Homer’s disappearance that foreshadow to the discovery of his body in Emily’s house.

The short story starts out describing Emily and the home her father left to her, after his passing. The town’s people refer to this home as smelling very bad “it smelled of dust and disuse- a close, dank smell” (Faulkner 31). Many people living near Emily complain about this smell and speak to the judge of the town about it. The judge’s remarks are “it’s probably just a snake or a rat the nigger of hers killed in the yard” (Faulkner 32). The judge tries to take care of the issue by having a few men of the town go to Emily’s house and “they broke open the cellar door and sprinkled lime there, and in all the out buildings” (Faulkner 32). However, sadly this does not take care of the problem. The author makes it very clear that the smell is very bad and it is out of the ordinary for it to be this strong. This suggests to the readers it is more than just a small animal dead in the yard or under her house. Thus, the odor foreshadows the ending.

As the short story progresses, the readers are informed of Emily’s past when her father dies. Emily does not like change and after her father died she told everyone in the town “her father was not dead” (Faulkner 33). Emily has a very hard time accepting this situation. She keeps the body in the house and for “three days… they tried to persuade her to let them dispose of the dead body” (Faulkner 33). They succeed after several attempts to remove him from the house and when they do, they quickly bury him. This is foreshadowing the fact that Emily has a hard time letting the people she loves go and offers a motivation for Homer’s body which is discovered in the upstairs...


Cited: Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” Introduction to Literature. Ed. Natalie Danner. New York: Pearson, 2012. 30-37. Print.
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