A Rose for Emily Questions and Answers
by William Faulkner

A Rose for Emily book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Describe the narrator's feelings towards Emily.

Expert Answers info

M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer, ESL/TEFL Instructor

bookM.A. from Chapman University

calendarEducator since 2008

write5,713 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

In A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner the narrator is a third person omniscient who uses the term "we" to falsely provoke the feeling that it is a first person, but it is a normal thing for Faulkner to both entertain and surprise the reader with the use of creative licenses.

In A Rose for Emily, it is widely accepted that the commentary is a compilation of thoughts and feelings from the townsfolk, used as a way to "let us in" in the ongoing gossip that does not cease about Miss Emily.

At the beginning we find the narrator describing Emily with a bit of uneasiness. The narrator focuses more on her dying looks, on her eyesore among eyesores of a house, and tells her story as if feeling sorry for this woman who once was a symbol of Southern wealth and influence.

As the story progresses, we see that the narrator changes the voice and we find that the narrative is more at tandem with Emily's life: We learn more about the influence of the sisters, about Homer's "past-times", and about many secrets we couldn't identify at the beginning. Finally, at the end the narrator looks more condescending and explains the oddity of her behavior in a way that is more compassionate than morbid. This is perhaps the best favor that the narrator did for Emily, and for which he or she offered Emily "the rose" of compassion when telling about her life.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial