Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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In the short story, "A Rose for Emily", author William Faulkner uses many literary elements to give added meaning. Use of plot, symbolism, irony, characterization, and narrative technique all help to shape the work, while at the same time adding meaning to the piece.

Faulkner uses plot in a very interesting way in "A Rose for Emily". The order of events in the story did not occur as they were told, rather, the death of Emily was discussed first, then the events leading up to her death, and then finally the finding of the body shortly after her death, was revealed last.

Arranging the plot in this order served to make the climax of the story more powerful. If Faulkner revealed the finding of the body at the beginning of the story, right after Emily's death, as it chronologically happened, it would not produce as drastic of a reaction from the reader.

Because the reader learns of Emily's past, her stubbornness and resistance to change, and her relationship with her father, for example, they are able to more appreciate and understand the finding of the body at the very end of the story.

Narration is also used in an interesting way by Faulkner to add to the story. A first-person narration is used, but rather than the narrator referring to itself as "I", it refers to itself as "we". This serves to show that the narrator's point of view represents that of the entire community as a whole, making the narrator's point of view more powerful.

Symbolism is a very powerful literary element used in this story. Faulkner uses Emily's gray hair to represent her old age. While in seclusion from the community (shortly after buying the poison), Emily's hair begins to fade, and continues to do...