Explain how the various elements of the plot in Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily moves the story forward.

Expert Answers
sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Faulkner uses flashback in this story as his technique for plot development.  The story begins with the funeral of Emily Grieson, the title character, and slowly moves back and forth through time to show the life of Emily and, in tandem, the life of this southern town.  The flashbacks are shown in five sections, each depicting instances from Emily's life.  It starts with Emily's conflict with the tax collector and ends back in the present time, in the cleaning out of Emily's house.  Through these sections, readers learn that Emily grew up with an abusive and overbearing father and became an isolated adult with few social skills and a difficulty letting go.  This problem of "letting go" caused her to murder the one boyfriend she had and to hold on to the body.  This, of course, is not confirmed until last moments of the fifth section, when Homer's body is found.

The story is told from the point of view of an unnamed town member.  This strategy provides readers with both an outsider's view of Emily and an insider's view of the town.  Readers can experience the concerns about Emily and the changes in the town through this narrator's voice, and are thus able to better sympathesize with the characters. 

Read the study guide:
A Rose for Emily

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question