What is the narrator's attitude toward Miss Emily?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The narrator of William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" seems ambivalent towards her, at some points condemning her and at other pitying her and even supporting her. Because the narrative voice is that of the collective opinion of the town, this ambivalence reflects that of the new south towards its own older southern heritage.

When the narrator describes Miss Emily as a bloated and pallid, this seems to emphasize that she belongs to a dying world. The description of her as an idol, though, suggests that a certain residual reverence for her and the old south remains even when people no longer are ostensibly part of that culture. Although the narrator roots for Emily in her romance, hoping she triumphs against the "ladies", the perfidy of the lover suggests that even when the old aristocracy tries to embrace new northern ideas, they will not succeed.