What is the exposition, climax, rising action, falling action, and resolution of "A Rose for Emily"?

What is the exposition, climax, rising action, falling action, and resolution of "A Rose for Emily"?

Expert Answers info

Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

calendarEducator since 2016

write6,840 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

We do not necessarily have to consider the story in chronological order in order to assess these elements.  In fact, the story is not presented to us in chronological order, so I would argue that we ought to honor the order of events in which we do get the story when analyzing it.  As a result, descriptions of Miss Emily's funeral, the town's feelings about her during her life, and her taxes are all exposition.  

The rising action begins with the description of the smell that once emanated from Miss Emily's home, thirty years prior to the tax conflict and just two years or so after her father's death.  Next, we learn about her father's belief when Emily was young that no one was good enough for her.  Then he dies, leaving her all alone, something that she is clearly uncomfortable with because she hoards his body for days before allowing people to take it away and bury it.  This is also an important instance of rising action because Emily's odd treatment of the dead is a clue to understanding the story's climax.  Emily gets sick, recovers, meets Homer Barron, buys arsenic, refuses to tell the druggist what she needs it for, and buys wedding gifts for Homer, before he disappears into her home for good, never to be seen again: This all falls under the characterization of rising action, as is the description of her "iron-gray" hair.  

Finally, Emily dies, and after her funeral, townspeople know that the door to one room upstairs "would have to be forced open." It had not been opened for some forty years.  In the story's climax, there is the "violence of breaking down the door" and the discovery of Homer Barron's decayed body, surrounded by his bridal suit and the gifts Miss Emily purchased for him.  This is the moment of the most tension in the story: we learn that she has hoarded Homer's body just as she did her father's.  

In the story's falling action, the narrator describes Homer's...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 683 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

troutmiller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write704 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial