Directions: After you have read, pp. 26-29 (Chapter 2 Point of View) open the link to YouTube and watch the excellent video on Point of View Next, read "A Rose for Emily" pp. 30-36. What Point of View does Faulkner use in this story? Who is the unnamed narrator? For whom does he (or she?) profess to be speaking? Also, at the end of the story, the narrator says: "Then we noticed that in the second pillow was an indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair." What is meaningful in the final detail that the strand of hair on the second pillow is "iron-gray"?

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Faulkner chooses an interesting point of view in "A Rose for Emily." It is a point of view which contributes to the Southern Gothic feel of the story, and seems to welcome the reader into the "we" of the narrative voice. We do not know who the unnamed narrator in the story is, but we know for whom he speaks. At the beginning of the tale, he relates how the people of "our whole town" went to Emily's funeral. The narrator, then, writing in a sort of collective first person voice, is inviting the reader in to the local community, and relating how Emily was viewed by others who lived alongside her, and yet never really knew her. He is one of the townsfolk; he understands their view of Emily and her family, and he shares that viewpoint with us. They do not know what is going on in Emily's house; nor could they ever ask. Even the question of telling her about the terrible smell seems impossible.

At the end of the story, this narrator describes how a strand of "iron-gray" hair was found on the pillow next to the horrifying discovery in the upstairs room. This is a very important detail, because it indicates that Emily has not simply left her hair upon the pillow next to the dead man when, many years ago, he passed away. Nothing is left of Homer Barron now—he has rotted away entirely. However, that strand of long hair has come from an elderly person; indeed, an elderly woman. It is not a relict of a time in the distant past when Emily consigned her lover to the bedroom after a final embrace. On the contrary, it seems to suggest that the elderly woman had, until very recently, been sleeping, or at least lying, on this bed next to the rotted corpse of the man who would not marry her.

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