Who is the narrator in "A Rose for Emily"? How does this choice of point-of-view enhance the shocking revelation at the end of the story?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although unnamed, I'm going to argue that the narrator is DEFINITELY a woman.

She is supposed to represent the sentiments of the southern town, but she tells details that only a woman would include.  Re-read the very first line of the short story: "... the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house..."  Who but a woman could express such a detail?

The description of Miss Emily in paragraph 6 is also all to tellingly told by a woman: "...what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her..."

The narrator is an opinionated, elitist, catty woman, whose very tone suggests she is attempting to sound "polite" throughout an entire story in which she defames and embarrasses Emily Grierson.  If you don't pity Miss Emily by the end of the story, hopefully you feel some spite toward the narrator.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator of William Faulkner's short story, "A Rose for Emily," remains unnamed throughout the narrative. Through the use of collective pronouns ("we," "us"), however, he identifies himself (or herself) as a member of the Jefferson community, and the narrator is representative as a spokesperson for the town. By using this device, Faulkner is able to give the reader a more personal description of Emily and her life--as if a neighbor or acquaintance was telling the story. In the final scene, the narrator becomes a member of the delegation of citizens who enters Emily's mysterious bedroom; by doing so, the reader is given a first-hand response to the surprising scene inside.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question has been asked and answered a couple of times already. Check the answers at the links posted in the Sources section.

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A Rose for Emily

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