Discuss a critical essay about a character in "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One critical essay, written by Michael L. Burduck, addresses the identity of the Narrator, who is admittedly a central and important character in "A Rose for Emily." That the narrator is a central character is proven by the fact that the Narrator uses inclusive thrid person pronouns "we" and "they." This is an inclusive reference that sets the Narrator right down in town with Emily.

There are several opinions as to the characteristics of the Narrator. Some hold that the Narrator is a male member of the youngest adult generation of the town who has been reared on the stories and legends of Emily Grierson who therefore has a tone of awe and respect and distance. Others, like Hal Blythe, conclude that the Narrator is a male from the same generation as Emily herself. Blythe concludes that the Narrator is in fact a rejected suitor out to get revenge, even though the tone lacks a vengeful ring.

Michael L. Burduck, on the other hand, in his essay called "Another View of Faulkner's Narrator in "A Rose for Emily"," concludes that the Narrator is one of the sympathetic and understanding town women of Emily's own generation. The major point of evidence, aside from the sympathetic tone, is the use of the third person pronouns. Most often throughout the story observations are made as "we." At the surprise ending climax, the "we" becomes "they" as those strong enough to break down chamber (bedroom) doors go to see what's upstairs. It changes back to "we" when the "long strand of iron-gray hair" is discovered.

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A Rose for Emily

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