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Give three example of foreshadowing in "A Rose for Emily".

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good34 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:22 PM via web

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Give three example of foreshadowing in "A Rose for Emily".

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:33 PM (Answer #1)

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Fores shadowing is an important motif throughout the story. Even the conclusion of the story is foreshadowed by Emily’s refusal to allow her father to be buried, by her purchase of rat poison, by the disappearance of Homer Barron, and by the pervasive smell of decay. In fact, these foreshadowings are so evident it is a wonder that, for those reading the story for the first time, the ending is so surprising. Much of the surprise  seems due to the narrator’s back-and-forth, unchronological method of telling the events of the story. We aren’t told in proper sequence that (1) Emily buys poison, (2) Homer disappears, and (3) there is a mysterious odor—a chain of events which might immediately rouse our suspicions. Instead, we hear about odor, poison, and disappearance, in that order. By this arrangement, any connection between these events is made to seem a little less obvious.

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:31 PM (Answer #2)

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Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" contains numerous examples of foreshadowing, and it's the foreshadowing that gives the surprise ending legitimacy once it occurs.

First, Emily is reluctant to give up her father's body once he dies.  She keeps it in the house until she is finally talked into releasing the body for burial five days after her father's death.  In this instance, the townspeople are aware of her father's death, so ultimately she has no choice but to give up the body.

Second, Emily buys poison.

Third, Homer disappears but nothing is said about anyone ever seeing him leave.

Fourth, the house smells.

Faulkner manipulates these events by relating them in piecemeal fashion so they do not come off as hints, but instead can be used as foreshadowing to legitimize the ending for the reader.

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