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A Rose for Emily

The literary techniques of foreshadowing and symbolism are employed by William Faulkner in "A Rose for Emily" to further the themes and action of his gothic short story. Symbolism joins the story's external action to the theme while foreshadowing prepares the reader, as well as the townspeople of the tale, for the climax of the multi-layered story of Miss Emily. Another special element is the function of the narrator within the story.

Divided into five sections that deal with the time present and time past so essential to the story of what turns a proper Southern lady into a tragic, perverse murderer and necrophiliac,

the story is set in a small town in the American South in the post-Civil War years, and the era of the setting makes the story believable. Emily Grierson is the spinster daughter of one of the town's first families, and as such a member of the aristocracy; it is her social standing û so important in the Old South û that enables her to behave in an imperious, high-handed way, refusing to pay taxes or to succumb to the moral conventions and expectations of the town. Her social standing has given her a public role, and it is because of this role that the townspeople protect her, and bend to her strong will. As Ray B. West, Jr. points out, "she is common property of the town, but in a special wayùas an ideal of past values." The very first sentence of the story is an indication of how the town views Emily. "When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservantùa combined gardener and cookùhad seen in at least ten years" (Faulkner 29). This first sentence is an example of Faulkner's use of foreshadowing that "prepares us for Emily's unnatural act at the end of the story" (West). William V. Davis indicates Faulkner's use of foreshad...

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A Rose for Emily. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 05:18, May 26, 2022, from