In "A Rose for Emily," what's the internal monologue when her father dies?Emily's internal monologue at some special moments

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interior monologue is a tool that authors employ to reveal the thoughts of a character to the reader.  This interior monologue can take different forms such as soliloquy in a play, stream of consciousness, or words abruptly spoken by a character in a situation.

 Indirect interior monolgue occurs when the author comments upon the thoughts of a character.  e.g. Stream of consciousness.

In direct interior monologue, words are spoken by the character without any authorial intervention, such as in the burial scene in "A Rose for Emily."  The thoughts are often in contradiction to a situation.  In the scene in which Emily's father has died, the ladies call at the house to offer condolence and aid:

Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face.  She told them that her father was not dead.  She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body.  Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly.


mkcapen1 | Student

In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily,” Ms. Emily is a southern born aristocrat and spinster who has fallen into poverty and isolation.  As her environment she deteriorates.  She is a tradition and an obligation to the town.  She is a symbol of the Old South.  Initially when her father dies she is in shock and alone.  She refuses to believe he is dead and will not allow his body to be removed.  She carries on for three days like nothing has happened.  She may have talked with him about him not leaving her: telling

him that he is still well and should continue to stay well.

“When her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her;  and in a way, people were glad.”(Faulkner)

Being left without money Miss Emily must have felt resentment against her father as well as relief.  Her father had put the family at such high esteem that no suitor was considered well enough for Emily.  There fore, she was still single in her thirties.  Her internal monolog probably indicated that she was no longer under her father’s rule and would now make decisions as she chooses.

She meets a construction worker and has an affair with him.  Her internal monolog to her father may have been.  “See father, I can now date who I want, and do what I want and you can’t stop me.”  When he prepares to leave her behind, her monolog to her father may have been, “Stop it.  I know what you are thinking.  I am not good enough for him.  Quit telling me “I told you so.”

Read the study guide:
A Rose for Emily

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