Does  " A Rose for Emily" follow a conventional plot structure?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Faulkner does not follow a conventional plot structure in this story because he uses flashback throughout the story that is not chronological. Faulkner has the narrator tell the story in the same way that our memories work. We don't always remember everything while we're talking about a past event, but one memory will sometimes trigger another memory. This narrator as that kind of storyteller who strays from what he's currently talking about to tell the reader about something else in the past he suddenly remembers. The story opens with the narrator describing Emily's funeral, but then he recalls when Colonel Sartoris gave Emily a reprieve from paying her taxes because her father had left her no money. Then the narrator is reminded of something else. The events are all connected, but they are not told in the order they happened.  

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator


The story A Rose for Emily does not follow the conventional plot structure because William Faulkner, the author, intended to make the point of view to come straight from the townspeople's perspective.

This being said, what Faulkner wanted was to give us a taste of what the people thought about Emily and her situation, and then lead us to the final findings for us to come up with a conclusion.

In all, the point of view is helpful for us to, perhaps, get even more information than another narrator's point of view would have provided.

epollock | Student

The author moves from one scene to another by numbering the scenes, I through V.The disjointed chronology creates suspense, for if chronological sequence had been followed, the reader might suspect the ending. Also, Miss Emily is being destroyed by a time which she does not recognize, just as the story pattern does not recognize it.The actual sequence of events is: her father’s rejection of her suitors, his death, her seclusion and subsequent reemergence, appearance of Homer Barron, purchase of arsenic, Homer’s disappearance, the smell, Emily’s lessons in china-painting, her refusal to pay her taxes, her death, and the townspeople’s discovery in the closed room.

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A Rose for Emily

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