A Rose for Emily Suggested Essay Topics
by William Faulkner

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Suggested Essay Topics

Section I
1. In the first section of “A Rose for Emily,” Faulkner sets a particular tone. How would you describe that tone, and what are some of the techniques he uses to do it? How does his word choice, for instance, affect the tone? And how does the tone impact your reading of the story?

2. The date of Miss Emily’s death and the state or region in which the story is set are ever mentioned. However, Faulkner provides several hints in Section I for both the time and the setting of the story. Given what you have read so far, what is your best estimate of when this story takes place, and what region of the country is Jefferson located? Give reasons for your answers.

Section II
1. Two separate and unrelated issues of heredity/inheritance are raised in Section II. What are they, and what role do they play in the town’s perception of Miss Emily?

2. It becomes clear in Section II that Miss Emily may be suffering from some form of mental illness or psychological disorder. Do you think Miss Emily is mentally ill or psychologically disturbed? Why or why not?

Section III
1. Faulkner describes how boys would follow Homer Barron around town in order “to hear him cuss the niggers, and the niggers singing tin time to the rise and fall of picks.” Do you consider Faulkner’s use of the racial epithet “nigger,” as opposed to the terms “Negro” or “Black,” racist? Why does Faulkner use that term in this case? Why doesn’t he use that term when referring to Tobe, Emily’s manservant?

2. The older ladies in the town claim that “even grief could not cause a real lady to forget her noblesse oblige.…” What do they mean by this?

Section IV
1. Faulkner makes a point of explaining how Miss Emily refused to let the post office place numbers on the side of her house. What is...

(The entire section is 486 words.)