5 Sections = ?Faulkner divided "A Rose for Emily" into five distinct sections. I was curious what effect this formal division had on you as you read the story, and what meaning anyone saw in it. For...

5 Sections = ?

Faulkner divided "A Rose for Emily" into five distinct sections. I was curious what effect this formal division had on you as you read the story, and what meaning anyone saw in it. For example, do the five sections line up with the five acts of a traditional play? How so? Or is there another structure and meaning?

Thanks!

Greg

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Kristopher Parisian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Laying out the story in five sections, each told from the perspective of an informed outsider, a sense of clarity is created. As the reader, I feel that the narrator knows Emily's whole story. He is able to tell that story almost as if it were a legal case with all the pertinent details set upon the proverbial table.

This leads to the ironic conclusion where the seemingly all-knowing narrator expresses surprise at what is found in the attic bedroom. We are set up not to expect surprise because the story has been so clearly delineated, so organized.  

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I think it is interesting that while the story is told in a stream of consciousnous manner, it is clear that the narrator knows where he is headed -- he is clearly building the story to its final sentence of revelation.  Also, the narrator uses 5 adjectives to describe Miss Emily in the 4th section -- one for each section of the story?  He calls her: dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.  Could one of those adjectives...

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