A Rose for Miss Emily

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Faulkner guides us through his short story “A Rose for Miss Emily”, with his own unique form of third person limited narration. This narration allows the audience to follow the opinions of the narrator and develop the mindset the author desires his audience to have. Specifically, William’s choice to begin the story with the description of Emily’s funeral gives the reader a sort of inherent sympathy for Miss Emily, which we, the readers, naturally carry through the story as we build our opinion of Emily.

Faulkner then continues to build shape our opinion of Emily through the metaphorical comparison of her with a “Fallen Monument.” Such a comparison unsurprisingly leads the reader to think of Miss Emily as some sort of tarnished noble, or more appropriately, a tarnished aristocrat. The idea that Miss Emily is part of the aristocracy is then explicitly reinforced with the description of Miss Emily’s residence in the second paragraph (Page 391 Norton Introduction to Literature). Such a “big, squarish frame” (Page 391 Norton) house would not be something owned by anyone of mediocre social class, especially a woman of anything less than upper class when the contextual timeline of this piece is consulted. Faulkner’s pitiful description of the house leads the audience, yet again, to have a sense of pity for her.

With the continuation of the story we begin to realize that the townspeople’s feelings are congruent with the feelings the reader is being coerced into realizing. “Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town”(Page 391 Norton). This niche as a “tradition, a duty” allows Miss Emily to qualify for some questionable privileges, beginning with the remittance of her taxes by the...

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...ity to question Miss Emily, being the “high and mighty Grierson” she was. If someone would have simply investigated this smell a little further, if the druggist would have held his ground and not sold the poison to Miss Emily (page 394 lines 35-48 Norton), or even if someone even had the compassion to come and ask Miss Emily about Homer Baron's sudden disappearance, the story very well could have had a different outcome. Instead the townspeople did whatever they could to avoid any sort of confrontation with Miss Emily, in hindsight, this was their biggest mistake, it cost the life of a man as well as drained the town of what was rightfully theirs (taxes). This thus produces the theme that no one should be above the law. No extent of intimidation or status should supersede justice, because if it does, then those who are empowering it shall endure the consequences.
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