Who is the unnamed narrator of "A Rose for Emily"? Whom does he profess to speak for?

The narrator of "A Rose for Emily" is not really a single person, but a collective. The narrator serves as the voice of the entire town, and Faulkner tells the story from the town's point of view. This shows how the entire small town knows the same things and shares a fascination with gossip.

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In "A Rose for Emily," the narrator is not really identified as a single individual (nor is it a "he," as the question asks.) Rather, Faulkner chooses to tell the story from the perspective of the entire town, as is revealed in the first line: "When Miss Emily...

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In "A Rose for Emily," the narrator is not really identified as a single individual (nor is it a "he," as the question asks.) Rather, Faulkner chooses to tell the story from the perspective of the entire town, as is revealed in the first line: "When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral..." This seems to be deliberate, and the effect is that the reader gets a sense of the cohesiveness (but also the exclusionary and borderline dysfunctional nature) of small towns in the South.

The townspeople gossip about Miss Emily and view her with a sort of bemusement. They talk about the dilapidated condition of her home, and about the horrible smell emanating from her property. They gossip about the condition her father, who kept her from marrying, left her in—penniless, but forced to try to keep up appearances. Some even felt "really sorry for her." Throughout the story, the narrator uses the term "we," or, at times, "the ladies," or "the men." The point is that Miss Emily and her home become set apart from the rest of the small-town community. This seems to play a role in her unwillingness to engage with the community, and it adds to the air of bemused fascination the town (and therefore the reader) has with the goings-on at the Grierson house.

When she buys poison from the local drugstore, the townspeople speculate:

The next day we all said, "She will kill herself"; and we said it would be the best thing.

At the end of the story, when the fate of Homer Barron is revealed, the narrator again underscores the sense of collective fascination:

For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin.

Of course, the entire town did not enter Miss Emily's house. The point is that, in a small town, everyone instantly knew what happened there.

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