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Analyzing the Short Story: A Rose for Emily

William Faulkner is often considered as one of the most widely accepted writers in English literature. Faulkner’s story ‘A Rose for Emily’ explains the story of Emily Grierson. Emily Grierson is a strong woman with a great sense of tradition and a very dynamic character.

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The final paragraph of Faulkner’s story A Rose for Emily spreads unexpected shock and horror to the mind of the reader. It is clear that in this final paragraph, the author gives answers for all the puzzles created in the mind of the reader. Here, the author describes the loneliness and the gruesome reality in which Emily had been living. In the final paragraph, the reader can understand the reason for various events which occurred in the beginning part of the story such as buying poison, Homer Barron’s tragedy, and Emily’s future life.

A reader can understand that the author uses the literary devices foreshadowing perfectly in the story A Rose for Emily. Through this technique, the reader can anticipate the tragic events in Emily’s life such as Homer’s death and Emily’s unsound mental condition.

Faulkner succeeds to give suspense and interest to the mind of the readers. The plot of the story is an excellent one. The writer arranged various events with the help of foreshadowing and irony. A chronological arrangement of events is visible in this story.

Faulkner uses a number of gothic elements in his story. These gothic elements help the reader to create the mood of fear and mystery. Emily’s ancestry, the background of the old mansion, and the strange relation between Homer and Emily create a strange mood in the mind of the reader.

The character of Emily represents the old south. Her southern heritage is represented through her action and her perseverance is a very strong characteristic of southern heritage. Emily’s death shows the distraction of southern tradition and Homer demonstrates north tradition and modern culture.

Emily is the protagonist of the story Rose for Emily and one can see that time is the antagonist. Faulkner presents Homer as an exponent of Northern culture. It is important that Homer’s character strikes Emily’s nature and tradition.

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This short story reveals the story of Emily who is a lonely upper-class woman struggling with life and traditions in the old southern region. Faulkner presents the narrator as an unnamed person and he speaks of his own community and his own class. As a result of this, the author uses different images and phrases such as “We” and “our” instead of “I”. Eric Knickerbocker explains that; “In fact, it appears as if the town itself is describing the events of Miss Emily’s life, the first-person plural “we” a telling indication” (Knickerbocker).

Emily killed Homer to prevent him from leaving Emily and the reader can find this event has some relations with Emily’s past life and her father’s death.

The character of Emily represents the hypocrisy of Southern tradition while Homer represents the northern culture. The entire story reveals the clash between two traditions.

“Dark Rose” is a possible title for the story because the story reveals the beauty, passion, love, denial, and death of Emily.

Faulkner divides his short story, A Rose, for Emily into five parts, the first part and last part having to do with the present and three middle sections explain the past. One of the most important themes in this story is society’s attitude to giving special liberties to those with power or material wealth. The character of Emily represents the glory of ancient Tradition. William Van O’Connor asserts; “In “A Rose for Emily” prevention and decadence are a suitable effluvium from the story, from the town’s nostalgia, Miss Emily’s peculiar relation to past generations, the severity of her father and her wrapped affection for him” (O’Connor 70).

Faulkner uses different literary devices, such as foreshadowing and irony in his short story A Rose for Emily. The final paragraph of this story includes series of events that create distress and horror in the mind of the reader. At the beginning of the story, the writer gives information or hints about Miss Emily and her mental illness. But, the reader cannot understand and doesn’t know anything more about Grierson’s home. But, the final paragraph helps to understand more about Emily Grierson. The reader can imagine what is going to happen in the story through different hints.

One can see that characterization of the story is excellent and Faulkner demonstrates Emily as the protagonist who suffered her entire life. The character of Homer gives the elements of fear and mystery. Emily’s unsound mental status haunts the reader for a long time.

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Knickerbocker, Eric. William Faulkner: The faded rose of Emily. Mr. Renaissance. 2003. Web.

Van O’Connor, William. The Tangled Fire of William Faulkner. U of Minnesota press. 2009. Web.

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"Analyzing the Short Story: A Rose for Emily." StudyCorgi, 25 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Analyzing the Short Story: A Rose for Emily." November 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Analyzing the Short Story: A Rose for Emily." November 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Analyzing the Short Story: A Rose for Emily." November 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Analyzing the Short Story: A Rose for Emily'. 25 November.

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