What are some of the literary elements used within "A Rose for Emily", and how are they used?
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There are several important literary elements in this story. The first one is point of view. This story is told in a flashback, but the actual narrator is unknown. This makes the reader question not only the identity of the narrator, but also the "trustworthiness" of this person--how does this narrator know these things? Is he/she telling the truth about Emily, her family and her situation?
Faulkner also uses foreshadowing. He drops hints along the way to make the readers believe that can predict the ending, and in doing so, builds suspense. But this ending, the surprise ending, can be considered an element in itself! Very few of my students have guessed the ending of this short story as they were reading.
Faulkner also weaves the setting and conflict together to create Emily's situation. The setting is the deep south where pride, honor and family name are of the utmost importance. Because of this, Emily finds herself in an uncomfortable situation more than once as her family money and name begin to age and decay along with her and her home. She and her choices truly are a product of the environment!
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