How does the authors' use of style hide or reveal something about the story's plot, and how does style help understand the story?meanings?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If by style we are talking about chronology of events, then it is important to note that the story begins and ends with Emily's death, so we know about the conclusion as we begin, which dismisses the usual chronological plot as part of the story of this woman's life. The reader is less concerned with "what happens next" than with the character herself and, indeed, the town and the narrator, too. What the fragmentation of the story--the movement forward and backward--reveals, then are aspects of Emily as a character rather while "hiding" (or at least jumbling up) a strict account of her life in the form of a biography. After all, this is the tale told by a town gossip, and by him (or her) telling it in this way we "hear" a voice. Other elements of style--figures of speech "reveal" the story through compression. For example, the "tableau" the narrator describes of Emily and her father says much about her life as a child without having to add details.  Similarly, the description of Emily as "a fallen monument" and the personification of her house, "lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay" characterize her very fully, saying something about her and the town at the same time.

renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story is told in a series of flashbacks and foreshadowing.  They are not done in chronological order, therefore it gives the reader snapshots of Emily's life, and hints at the future, without giving away a shocking ending.

These devices create anticipation, as well as an understanding as to how Emily became the person she is.

Read the study guide:
A Rose for Emily

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