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The tone in Williams Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" could be one of pragmatic and sardonic. This third person narrator is rather factual about the details of Emily’s story. There is no emotional build up, everything is presented in a matter of fact way, and then we as the audience decide what emotion should be called up based upon what the narrator relates to us. There are slight emotional overtones when the narrator relates certain behaviors of the characters such as when Miss Emily dies and the townspeople came to pay their respects, " . . . the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house . . . ". Another example is when the narrator tells us that Colonel Sartoris solved Miss Emily’s tax problem and, "Only a man of Colonel Sartoris' generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it." The pragmatic statement of facts and occurrences further emphasizes the times when the author is sardonic.
The tone is somewhat conversational and well-informed. The narrator is clearly a member of the community, self-identified, and speaks with some familiarity of the town. The narrator, however, is also clearly relating the story to someone from outside of the community.
Regarding Miss Emily, the narrator is respectful, to a degree, and takes pains to avoid any moral judgements.
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