A Rose for Emily Questions and Answers
by William Faulkner

A Rose for Emily book cover
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In "A Rose for Emily" who/what is the antagonist?  

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think an important question to ask before we discuss the antagonist is who is the protagonist? In response to your question, I would actually argue that Miss Emily Grierson is the antagonist and that the first-person plural "we" who narrates the story is the protagonist. The plot does convey portions of Miss Emily's life, but it more closely follows the thought processes and reactions of the community to Miss Emily's actions. This is one major reason why the story is not told in chronological order. If the narration followed Miss Emily's life's events, rather than the community's response to the events which it can observe, then it seems more likely that it would be written in the order in which she lived them, and it would likely have been revealed to us much sooner that she murdered Homer Barron with poison. However, because her community is the real protagonist, the narrative discusses events as and when they understand them, rather than when they actually take place.

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Carter Westfall eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

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An antagonist can...

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