What would the story "A Rose for Emily" lose if it were told in first person singular,or in third person limited point of view?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The style of narration in the story is crucial to gather all of the facts to create suspense, without giving too many facts to eliminate that same suspense.  If it were a first-person narrative, the element of creepy voyeurism would be completely eliminated.  Miss Emily would no longer be a mystery; if we were in her head, and she was explaining all of her actions and thought processes, we would completely understand her.  She would lose her mysterious "creepy lady in an old house" appeal that is so necessary for a great horror story.  As Stephen King, noted suspense writer notes, you can keep your audience in suspense as long as they don't know what is going on behind the closed door.  Open up that door and reveal, through first-person narration, Emily's mysteries, and there would be nothing to keep us reading.  As it is told now, we just get  bits and pieces that trail us along, keeping us guessing.

If it were a third-person limited point of view, it would have been difficult to tap into the collective intelligence of mass gossip.  If you get a room of people together and ask them about an event, you'll get much more information than if you were to ask just one person, which is what third-person limited would be like.  Because of the collective view-point, we know of many more mysterious occasions and actions of Emily than we would have otherwise; it pieces together a much more complete puzzle.

I hope that those thoughts help; good luck!

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A Rose for Emily

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