A Rose for Emily Questions and Answers
by William Faulkner

A Rose for Emily book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Why is the story not told in a strictly chronological order? what is the correct order of the events?

Expert Answers info

Margaret Mccarney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write338 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

In Requiem for a Nun, Faulkner writes, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Much of his work, including this short story, offers a meditation on the past, and the narrative structure reflects that. As a Modernist, Faulkner also tends in his work to explore non-linear time.

In "A Rose for Emily," it is somewhat misleading to think of this story as a story about Emily Grierson. It is much more about the act of narration and the implied audience of the story. The narrator is unfolding this horrific story about a town's legendary character, and the reader stands in for that auditor. A reader response critique can explore that more fully, but as is the case in any dramatic monologue, the implied experience of the teller and the hearer adds a depth. This is especially true as the story is past tense and the "unspeakable" ending has been awaiting discovery all along.

Without the framing device in which we enter the past from the present time, the disturbing brilliance of the story would...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 877 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jay Gilbert, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer

bookB.A. from University of Oxford

bookM.A. from University of Oxford

bookPh.D. from University of Leicester


calendarEducator since 2017

write2,267 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

bmadnick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write1,334 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write2,050 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial