The story A Rose for Emily by Faulkner is being told in several time periods not following one after another linearly. This is called nonlinear narrative. The author first describes Miss Emily’s funerals and then the events that took place before her death and led her to such a miserable and odd life.
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The townspeople have not been at her house for about ten years now. Her black servant Grierson is the only one to enter it. A long time ago this house was the best one in town but everything has changed since 1894 when Emily stopped paying taxes. The new generation did not want to accept this and so they paid a visit to talk to Emily about it. She, certainly, refused to pay taxes.
The author then brings the reader thirty years back when the townspeople experienced great discomfort over a bad smell coming from her house. Two years before the occasion her father died and a little after that her lover disappeared. Although the stink worsened, authorities did not want to do anything with that except for sprinkle lime around until the smell was gone (Faulkner, 1990).
And, so, the story goes on skillfully unveiling that the town was very sorry for Emily after her father’s death. It was a great loss for her and she refused to face it for three days. Citizens thought that she just did not want to admit she did not have a father anymore, she loved him and missed him. No one thought of her being crazy back then.
The story unveils linearly then says about her relations with Homer Barron after the father’s death. Although Emily feels totally happy, the town does not care about that and as it has always been (in any century time) her relations become a hot topic for debates and gossips. The townspeople disapprove of their affair. Homer Barron was in town for a project on a sidewalk building. The cousins of Emily found out about this bond and rush to Emily’s house to bring her to reason. The other day Emily buys arsenic in a drugstore. Everybody thinks she is abused by her lover and wants to commit suicide.
However, later on, she buys many male items and gossips is spread as if they are getting married. Nevertheless, Homer leaves town and so do Emily’s cousins. Homer returns in a while enter Emily’s house and it was the last time people saw him. She does not leave home often after that. Those were five years only that she left the house for giving painting lessons.
After that, the reader is introduced to twenty years later events when Emily is old and her hair is gray and her body is overweight. She dies in her downstairs bedroom that does not seem to see sunshine within many years. And so, the author brings us back to the start of the narration – her funeral. It is said that Emily’s black servant, Tobe, is the one to let women in and then he leaves the house through the backdoor to never come back again. Emily is buried and townspeople break into the room upstairs that has been closed for forty years! There is a body of Homer Barron and a long gray hair in an indentation right by him in the pillow.
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Faulkner, W. (1990). A Rose for Emily. Logan: Perfection Learning.