The Narrator's Role In "A Rose For Emily"

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The short story "A Rose For Emily" by William Faulkner is a chilling look at how society strips people of their authenticity in order to achieve personal satisfaction. This story examines the life of Emily Grierson from adolescence to death in the southern town of Jefferson. We are given an in-depth look at not only "Miss" Emily Grierson's life but also the role of the town and their interfering ways. The town is more than just a setting in the story; it is the main reasoning behind Emily's attitude and actions. Although it is never mentioned, it is evident that the narrator represents his own character. I used the word "his" because the narrator portrays a masculine vibe throughout the story. Faulkner illustrates that the narrator's role in the play is to represent the town, and their obsession with Miss Emily.

The town's unhealthy obsession with Emily's image is demonstrated by the fixation on the rotting smell coming from her "eyesore"(532) of a home.

Judge Stevens was informed by the townspeople "We really must do something about [the] [smell]."(533). Although disturbed by the smell the town exaggerates its importance to the point where the elders collaborated with the youth in order to vanquish the odour. They "slunk about the house like burglars…sprinkl[ing] lime" to mask the smell (533). The use of the simile "like burglars" enforces an idea of intrusion in Emily's nonexistent private life. She is constantly badgered, and is the main focus of the town's everyday gossip. A critic named Willow D. Crystal believes "the citizens of Jefferson determine that it is their 'duty,' their 'hereditary obligation' to oversee her activities"(573). Although widely believed throughout the town, this is not necessarily true. The town's constant intrusion of Emily's private life caused her to retreat into her home and...