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Do you think Faulkner follows his own advice in "A Rose for Emily"? Explain with...

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hell0kitty | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 15, 2013 at 7:18 AM via web

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Do you think Faulkner follows his own advice in "A Rose for Emily"? Explain with details from the story.

*** In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech Faulkner urges young writers to tackle "the old universe truths...love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice." Do you think Faulkner follows his own advice in "A Rose for Emily"? Explain with details from the story. ***

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:16 PM (Answer #1)

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The narrative voice in "A Rose for Emily" can be described as compassionate. Pride is clearly a part of Emily's story also. 

The pride of Emily's family begins with her father then continues with Emily. We see this pride on display in numerous examples from the story. Emily fails to marry, in large part, because her father refused to accept any suitors as being "good enough" for his daughter.

Emily uses her pride as a tool or a cover to gain advantage in town. This is true as she claims exemption from paying taxes and refuses to give a reason for purchasing rat poison in town. 

The narrator of the story treats the tale and its central character with respect, restraint, compassion and a bit of admiration as well. This is poignant when we consider the nature of the story, in its grisly final details. 

The narrator is, of course, aware of the story's ending when he begins his tale. Yet, the treatment of Emily emphasizes her strength of will (even as this becomes a stubbornness and a weakness). There is no emotive clue to her pathology or capacity for murder in the tone of the narrative. 

This can be seen as compassion even in the face of a story that challenges empathy. 

In these ways we can say that Faulkner did take his own advice in this story, exploring these two profound constants in human experience and human nature.

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