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“A Rose for Emily”. Notes on the story. General Information: Narrator. The voice of the town (Jefferson, MS) tells readers the story. . General Information: Emily’s House. Emily = house (Note the many similarities between Emily & her house).

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“A Rose for Emily”

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a rose for emily

“A Rose for Emily”

Notes on the story

general information narrator
General Information: Narrator
  • The voice of the town (Jefferson, MS) tells readers the story.
general information emily s house
General Information: Emily’s House
  • Emily = house (Note the many similarities between Emily & her house).
  • As the crumbling Grierson house is being described, think about how the town views Emily herself as a fallen monument.
general information plot
General Information: Plot
  • Plot is non-chronological
  • Non-linear plot encourages growing pity for Emily
  • The non-linear plot also serves to hide Emily’s crimes (just as the town does) by discouraging attention to any single event
general information foreshadowing
General Information: Foreshadowing
  • Foreshadowing = smell, lime, poison, father’s body
  • Readers know all along that something (someone) is rotten (dead), yet the ending still has an element of shock.
general information ending
General Information: Ending
  • End of story has 2 surprises:

#1: Homer is there, and

#2: Emily slept with him

making sense of the events
Making sense of the events
  • Chronology of Events
    • Emily’s father dies
    • Col. Sartoris pays Emily’s taxes
    • Col. Sartoris dies
    • Homer arrives
    • Emily buys arsenic
    • Homer disappears
    • Smell appears
    • Aldermen try to collect taxes
    • Emily dies
portraits of emily

Portraits of Emily:

Descriptions of Emily framed in a portrait, window, or doorway

portraits of emily section i
Portraits of Emily: Section I
  • Crayon portrait with her father – tarnished gilt easel
portraits of emily section ii
Portraits of Emily: Section II:
  • Small fat woman in black framed by doorway; she looks dead (something inside her has died)
  • Miss Emily sits in window (watching sprinkling of lime)
portraits of emily section iii
Portraits of Emily: Section III
  • Angel in window (short hair)
portraits of emily section iv
Portraits of Emily: Section IV
  • Emily is seen in upstairs/downstairs windows
descriptions of emily

Descriptions of Emily

How Emily is presented in the story:

Growing sympathy makes ending more disturbing; romantic view prevents town from seeing reality; they cover her crimes.

descriptions of emily14
Descriptions of Emily
  • Tradition, duty, care
  • Fallen monument
  • Hereditary obligation on the town
  • Would not accept charity
  • Emily in denial about father’s death
descriptions of emily15
Descriptions of Emily
  • Small fat woman in black
  • Bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water; pallid hue
  • Eyes like coal pressed in dough; fatty ridges
  • An idol
descriptions of emily16
Descriptions of Emily
  • Hair cut short, like a girl
  • Angelic comparison
  • Carried head high with Homer
  • Thin, cold, haughty black eyes; lighthouse keeper
descriptions of emily17
Descriptions of Emily
  • Fat with iron gray hair; like the hair of an active man
  • Dead on a heavy walnut bed
conflicts in the story

Conflicts in the story

Character conflicts that drive the plot

  • Emily vs. Homer
    • Emily is southern aristocracy, desperate for marriage
    • Homer is Yankee, day laborer, not marrying kind
    • Resolution = she kills him and keeps his body
  • Emily vs. her Father
    • Keeps her single – chases her suitors
    • Possible Incest and possible insanity
    • Resolution = he dies, leaving her alone
  • Emily vs. Town
    • Taxes
    • What is acceptable (smell, Homer)
    • Gossip
    • Is there resolution?
  • Emily vs. Herself
    • Maintain status or marry
    • Takes a lover vs. religion and tradition
    • Murders what she loves
    • “Loving” Homer after death was her atonement
old southern setting
Old Southern Setting
  • What makes this uniquely southern?
    • Influence of traditions
    • Negro servant
    • Role of clergy/relatives/women
    • Class considerations
    • Gothic elements: Old house, mysterious activities, smell, strange servant, closed rooms, dust, darkness, decay…
symbolic elements
Symbolic elements
  • Rose – love; gift of love; delicate; sweet smelling
  • Iron – strong, firm, cold, inflexible
  • Dust – overlooked, neglected, dirty, return to dust, antique
  • Barron – barren
  • Rat/snake – Homer is both
  • Black – death/funeral (psychologically dead)
  • Closed house/rooms – closed mind; isolation
  • cupolas: dome on a house, often serving as a belfry
  • august: majestic; inspiring admiration
  • coquettish: to act like a flirtatious woman
  • motes: particles or specks of dust or dirt
  • crayon: Pastels, (not crayola)
  • pallid: pale, drained of color
  • vanquish: to conquer or subdue
  • temerity: reckless boldness
  • diffident: lacking self confidence; timid; shy
  • deprecation: disapproval of
  • tableau: striking picture or scene
  • spraddled: to straddle or sprawl
  • vindicated: cleared from accusation; liberate; defend
  • imperviousness: impenetrable; incapable of being impaired, injured, or influenced
  • cabal: a small group of plotters, or their plot; subversives
  • bier: frame or stand for a coffin
  • jalousies: blind or window with horizontal slats
  • sibilant: hissing
  • macabre: gruesome; grim; ghastly
  • acrid: sharp or biting in taste or smell
  • cuckholded: cuckhold=husband of an unfaithful wife