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Despite "A Rose for Emily's" confusing sequence, many events are foreshadowed.  Please...

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ritamccaffrey | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 29, 2009 at 12:29 PM via web

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Despite "A Rose for Emily's" confusing sequence, many events are foreshadowed.  Please give 3 examples of this technique.

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 29, 2009 at 12:44 PM (Answer #1)

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One event that is foreshadowed is Emily's future refusal to part with Homer Barron.  Earlier in the telling of the story comes the passage where Emily's father died.  Her reaction when people come to the house to get her father's body is interesting:

"Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face.  She told them that her father was not dead.  She did that for three days."

Finally, she breaks down and lets them take her father's body, but, her reluctance to part with her beloved father, even if he was dead, directly foreshadows the entire Homer Barron situation that we discover at the end.  Another instance of foreshadowing is when Miss Emily buys the arsenic.  That foreshadows Homer's death.  She goes to the drug store, asks for arsenic, and when the pharmacist asks why, it states,

"Miiss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic and wrapped it up."

Here is another instance of foreshadowing; she gets enough arsenic to "kill an elephant" as the druggst says, then refuses to say why she's getting it.  One last instance of foreshadowing is the smell that radiates from her house.  It is an awful smell, so bad that people sneak into her yard at night to apply lime to try to get the smell to go away.  That also foreshadows the horrific discovery at the end.

So yes, even though Faulkner's chronology in telling the story is confusing, and out of order, if you are watching for signs, there are clues to the disturbing ending.  I hope that helps!

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 29, 2009 at 1:08 PM (Answer #2)

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  1. In section I of "A Rose for Emily" there is a comparison of the antiquated house with Emily as it lifts its "stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps." This description foreshadows the stubborn decay of Emily herself.  Like the Old South, she can no longer survive.
  2. In Section II there is a "smell that developed [that] was another link between the gross, teeming world and the high and might Griersons."  Again, suggestions are made about the dying of the Old South and those who are vestiges of this way of life.
  3. Also in Section II, after Emily's father dies, she "told them [the ladies] that her father was not dead."  This statement is a response to the hint of #1 as well as a suggestion of Emily's burgeoning madness:  "We did not say she was crazy then."
  4. Section III opens with "She was sick for a long time.  When we saw her again her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows--sort of tragic and serene. This suggests that Emily, relieved of the oppression of her father, returns, perhaps to a younger state in her mind; now, as a young person she can do as she wants, and she does by going around with Homer Barron.
  5. Then, in Section IV there is very obvious foreshadowing with Emily's purchasing arsenic, "her face like a strained flag."
  6. In section IV, "for almost six months she did not appear on the streets" and her front door "remained closed," suggesting that she does not want others to know what goes on in her house.  Later, the townspeople learn why.

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