The Narrator In A Rose For Emily By Faulkner


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The essay that I´m going to do is about A Rose for Emily, which was written by William Faulkner and was it was his first work published in a national magazine. In the introduction of the essay I´m going to stablish the context in which we can find A Rose for Emily. It is a short story included in the collection called the Village, collection that also includes several works like DRY SEPTEMBER, HAIR OR THE EVENING SUN. The works in this collection have three things in common, the community, which as we are going to see a very important character as a whole, the solitude of human beings which in the case of Miss Emily is what makes us sympathize with this woman, but also is what makes us see her as a victim. Finally, something these works have in common is that they are built by the point of view of an uncommon narrator.
I say this in the sense that it is unusual to find a narrator which for example in the case of A ROSE FOR EMILY does not know everything about what is really happening during the story.
In this essay the main task is going to be to develop all the characteristics about this strange narrator.
The first question I´ve thought the most important to start with is WHAT'S THE TYPE OF NARRATOR, does he or she know everything in the story? This question has to possible answers, as the narrator does not know everythin about Miss Emily, he doesn´t know what is her thinking or what are her fellings. On the other hand, the narrator seems to know everything from the point of view of the community, he knows what women think about Emily he knows that people in the community are going to ask her to pay her taxes, etc. but the things is that he doesn't know what each member of the community thinks, or what each member of the community does, speaks, feels, etc.
The conclusion to which i´ve arrived is that the narrator knows some things, but not everything, neither by the point of view of Miss Emily neither by the point of view of the community.
The second question is... is the narrator inside the story (intradiegetic) or outside? The alternance of the pronouns "we", and "they" might be confussing but even sometimes he says "they" making refference to the community is not because he is not there, but to be more objective, not to be fully involved in everything the community did.

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It might be because in my opinion the community is responsible for Miss Emily's solitude and consequently of her bizarre behaviour, and the narrator wants to be apart, not involved.
Taking into account this, we might ask ourselves if the narrator is objective in the story. He appears as a mere spectator of Miss Emily and the community. Also, he does not criticise her, so in this way he is objective. However, if we again take into account that is a member of the community we cannot consider him objective at all, as in the story we can see what's the opinion of the community: We had long thought of them as a tableau.
We have talk about the type of narrator, and the second point for a further study is WHO'S REALLY THE NARRATOR? Do we know if the narrator is a man or a woman? It's age?
In the first lines of the story we find to different attitudes towards Emily depending on the gender of the community members. The men are described as respectful, while women are considered curious gossiping everytime they can. So know, if we take into account that sometimes the narrator is very curious and that she knows what women in the community say to each other, just as if she is one of the women in the community that goes to have some tea to her neighbour's house (""Just as if a man--any man--could keep a kitchen properly, "the ladies said"). On the other hand, he is very respectful with her, like men in the community treat her. He does not state any clear opinion about Miss Grieson. We can even claim that it is a group of the people, that it´s not just a person the one that is telling the story.
All in all, we don't arrive to a clear conclusion, we can think of the narrator as a man, a woman or a group of people. We are going to see that the same happen when we try to develop the age of the narrator. Is it a member of the Old Generation or the New one?
The old generation treated her as a member of the nobility.
The new generation treat Miss Emily as one more, a person who has to pay her taxes.
We don´t get to know it because there are not clear statements which make the narrator's age clear, we know how each generation treats her, but we don´t know to what member the narrator belongs to.
Many critics have claimed that the narrator is not a member of the community, but a person who had been told the story. However in my opinion this is not possible at all as in the story we have several dialogues, we have the words that the characters said. So it is very difficult to believe that the story has been told from generation to generation and we have the exact words said by Miss Emily or some of the inhabitants in Jefferson.
The final point of my essay is the linearity of the story. The fact that the story told is a flashback told in the past tense is something that makes us question: why does the narrator told the story with does spectacular jumps through time? As the story is told in the past tense we know that the narrator already knew that Homer Barron was dead. Why is this hidden until the end? Perhaps the answer to this question is that the narrator wanted us to know all the facts that conditoned Miss Emily's life before we start judging her. Because, what would you have thought about Miss Emily if you knew that her sweet love was death in her bed? My opinion would have been that she was crazy, that she was a muderess. So by the jumps through time the narrator obtains a different reaction from us, we feel pity, somekind of identification, all in all we feel that she is the victim.
Moreover, if we take into account that the descriptions of Miss Emily are always made as potraits is another fact that make us watch her and her story as if it was a picture, having our own opinions of what's happening, what might be her felings, etc.

Finally I would like to say that apart from other things, the type of narrator is what makes this story a masterpiece, because the way in which the story is told makes us be intrigued about the end. Also it makes us be on the one hand in favour of Miss Emily, but on the other hand, sometimes we are just as one more of the community trying to know more about what's happening and being curious about what's hidden behind that lonely figure.


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