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“A Rose for Emily”. By William Faulkner. Written and developed by Mrs. Carol Hanes, Howard College, Big Springs, TX http://www.howardcollege.edu/homepages/chanes/engl_1302_tth.htm. Climax. PLOT. Conflict. Resolution. Exposition. Exposition: Initial equilibrium complication (Homer)

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a rose for emily

“A Rose for Emily”

By William Faulkner

Written and developed by Mrs. Carol Hanes,

Howard College, Big Springs, TX









  • Initial equilibrium
  • complication (Homer)
  • Setting

-Small town


-late 1800s, early 1900s

-Miss Emily’s house

3 characterization
3. Characterization

(What are the characters like? Protagonist/Antagonist? Flat/Round? Static/Dynamic? Stock?)

-Miss Emily Grierson

-Miss Emily’s father

-Homer Barron


-the Negro

-the cousins


( Man vs. Man; Man vs. Himself;

Man vs. Nature; Man vs. Society;

Man vs. Supernatural )

-Miss Emily vs. her father

-Miss Emily vs. herself

-Miss Emily vs. Homer

-Miss Emily vs. townspeople/cousins


(The point of the story where the main conflict is resolved.)

-Miss Emily dies.


(What does the reader learn after the climax?)

  • The room is opened.
  • Homer’s body is discovered.
  • The townspeople put all the clues together.
    • What is the “rose” for Emily?
point of view

1) 1st person Character (major/minor? participant? reliable?)

2) 3rd person Narrator (omniscient/limited/objective)

  • “When Miss Emily died, our whole town went to her funeral. . . .” -First person minor character, participant, unreliable
  • Conversational, gossipy.
  • Mysterious
  • Bizarre, strange
  • Grotesque
  • Southern Gothic

(The way the author tells the story.)

Long, complicated sentences. (See ¶ 1)


-big, bookish words (coquettish, ¶ 2)

  • Lots of description. (See ¶ 6)
  • Flashbacks. (See ¶ 3)
  • Not much dialog.

(What general idea or insight does the entire story reveal? Must be stated in general words & must apply to society in general and not just this story. May not state what the story is about.)

  • People may resort to desperate

measures to prevent being alone

in life.

  • Things, people, and events are not

always what they appear to be.

  • Others?

(An object that suggests more than its literal meaning. An object that points or hints at deeper meaning. Always look at titles, inanimate objects, names, colors, and locales.)

  • The rose color?
  • The title?
  • The toiletry items?
  • The pocket watch?
  • The dust?
  • The plot’s order and time frame
  • Southern Gothic genre
  • Her father’s influence – his repression leads her to date a man he would not approve of and then take control in the only manner possible
  • Necrophilia – she loved and slept with the dead. In what ways?
  • Passage of time – Emily’s denial of it
william faulkner

William Faulkner(1897-1962)was born in New Albany,Mississippi. He attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford before and after his service in the Royal Canadian Air Force in World I. His literary career began in New Orleans where he met Sherwood Anderson, who helped him get his first novel Soldier’s Pay published in 1926. The work which won Faulkner a Nobel Prize in 1950 is often a depiction of life in his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, an imaginative reconstruction of the area adjacent to Oxford.

major works
Major Works
  • His major novels :
  • The Sound and the Fury(1929)
  • As I Lay Dying(1930)
  • Sanctuary(1931)
  • Light in August(1932)
  • Absalom , Absalom !(1936)
  • The Hamlet(1940)
  • His books of short stories:
  • These Thirteen (1931)
  • Go down, Moses(1942)
  • The Collected Stories of William Fanlkner(1950)
a rose for emily15

“A Rose for Emily” is one of Faulkner’s most widely read in the American classroom. Many students may find Faulkner’s story difficult to understand and appreciate because the story is not told in chronological order. Some readers may think it is a bizarre story about an old eccentric lady in an American Southern town. It is true that the setting of the story is the American South. Yet, the theme of the story is universal, transcending the boundaries of time and space. Like many other works of great literature, this short story tells about love, death, honor, pride, change, and loss.

a rose for emily16
  • The story is set in the southern town of Jefferson in Yoknapatawpha County (Mississippi)
  • Emily Grierson is the protagonist. Dominated by her aristocratic father, she has been prevented from marrying and after his death she is left alone and penniless.
  • One of the themes of this story is the relation of the individual and his/her actions to the past, present and future.
  • In addition, Faulkner uses stream of consciousness.
meaning of the title
Meaning of the Title

The meaning of the title is ambiguous, capable of various interpretations.

  • A rose is a cliché, symbolizing love and a pledge of faithfulness. From the story we can see Miss Emily was denied love. So, in this sense, the title has an ironic meaning.
  • A rose for somebody can also mean a kind of memorial, an offering, in memory of somebody.
  • Also, make note of the name and depiction of Miss Emily. Does Faulkner’s Miss Emily remind you of another famous EMILY?
emily dickinson
Emily Dickinson
  • Faulkner picked the name Emily on purpose….
literary devices
Literary Devices
  • Flashback and foreshadowing are two often used literary devices that utilize time in order to produce a desired effect. Flashbacks are used to present action that occurs before the beginning of a story; foreshadowing creates expectation for action that has not yet happened. Faulkner uses both devices in ‘‘A Rose for Emily.’’
  • Irony
  • Symbolism
meaning of tale
Meaning of Tale

The plot of the story evolves around many conflicts:

1. the conflicts between Mr. Grierson and his daughter,

2. the conflict between Miss Emily and Homer Barron,

3. the conflict between Miss Emily and the community,

4. the conflict between the South and the North,

5. the conflict between Miss Emily and the established codes of conduct,

6. and the conflict between the past and the present.