What is the author trying to impress on the reader from the first lines of the text "A Rose for Emily"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The first line of Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" reads: "When Mis Emily Greirson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant -- a combined gardener and a cook -- had seen in at least ten years."

We know the deceased had been unmarried because she is called "Miss." This is a gentle foreshadowing of the entire story, as her martial status is the key pivot point for all the action that follows.

Next, the narrator lets us know that the "whole town went to her funeral." This means the whole town knew about her and all have played role, though indirectly, in her death. Their negligence, in effect, kills her.

The shabby treatment Miss Emily received in her life is evident through both the men and the women of the town. The men are there at the funeral to pay their respects to a "fallen monument." Miss Emily was a part of the Old South, a relic of the past that held passing, though not lasting, interest. The women are interested to see the inside of her home, but did not care to get to know Emily as a real person.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team