Who is telling the story in "A Rose for Emily"?

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Faulkner's famous short story "A Rose for Emily" is narrated by an unknown outsider. The narrator is not one of the main characters in the story (like Emily or her father) and gives us only a limited perspective (the narrator is not omniscient and must guess and speculate...

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Faulkner's famous short story "A Rose for Emily" is narrated by an unknown outsider. The narrator is not one of the main characters in the story (like Emily or her father) and gives us only a limited perspective (the narrator is not omniscient and must guess and speculate about Emily's motives and about what goes on in her home). The narrator is never named in the story and seems to have no specific relationship to Emily, other than that he or she lives in the same town where Emily lives.

The narrative voice of "A Rose for Emily" adds to the sort of "gossipy" feel of the story. We often hear about what neighbors think or assume about Emily. They are very interested in her and they are very judgmental of her. However, no one in the town seems to ever have been close with her. She is an object of curiosity and scrutiny. Emily and her father stand as symbols of a past time, namely the antebellum South. Emily is seen clinging to the past in many ways, as seen in the way she refuses to pay taxes, retains a black manservant, and even in the way she clings to Homer's long-dead corpse (as revealed after Emily's death, which is the only point at which outsiders can gain any access into her home). Emily also seems to think highly of herself and her family's name and legacy, and because she does so, at least in the eyes of the townspeople, the other citizens resent her and take pleasure in her failures and humiliations. 

The narrator appears to be from a younger generation and represents the voice of the common citizen of this Mississippi town. As such, the narrator is curious about Emily, reports on the rumors about her, and feels both sorry for her and satisfied when it is revealed that she wasn't so much better than the rest of them after all. 

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