A Critical Analysis of "A Rose for Emily" - William Faulkner

Essay by feminaHigh School, 11th gradeA-, March 2008

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“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner tells the story of an unconventional spinster ; Emily Grierson and her eccentric relationships with her father, lover, and the town of Jefferson.

The story is told by an unknown Narrator who is clearly a town resident (“when Miss Emily died, our whole town went to her funeral..”), and the story unfurls in a non-chronological order. We are given the ending first, we know Miss Emily Grierson is already dead when the story begins, but we also know the story is about her. I believe this technique is used to create empathy for the character of Emily because you only see her through the eyes of the people of Jefferson, who would often talk about her behind her back; but she’s referred to as “poor Emily”.

The order of the story is also used to build up tension and suspense; the story starts and Emily is already dead, she may have been murdered of committed suicide? We read on; and this is not the case.

The story gives you small indications of what’s coming in the end, for example you know she’s possibly mad or mentally disturbed when you read; “she did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body. just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father.” Also the passage in the story where she buys Arsenic but will not tell the druggist what it’s for, but she states that she wants “the best” they have.

I wondered why the William Faulkner chose the name Emily, I thought there had to be more to it, it couldn’t just be a random name he...