In "A Rose for Emily" what is the effect of the story, and how it was achieved?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As with all stories, the effect depends on the reader.  Every reader is impacted in different ways, depending on their life experiences and background.  That being said, because of the surprise ending this story contains, there are some universal reactions that are usually felt.  Some of the effects are horror, disgust, revulsion, creepiness, and the thrill of having read a good story.

These effects are achieved through the way that the story is told.  First of all, it has a limited narrator-the townspeople-that doesn't have access to all of the information behind the tale.  Because of this, the ending is more of a surprise, because we didn't know any of the details that would have clued us in to what was happening.  Secondly, Faulkner tells the story out of sequential order.  This helps to fill in details of Emily's life in a way that is a bit haphazard, disjointed, and a bit confusing, which doesn't allow the reader to piece things together as smoothly as they would have otherwise.  Both of these elements in how the story is told-along with just having a super cool idea-help to achieve the final effects of the story.

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A Rose for Emily

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