A Rose for Emily Topics for Further Study
by William Faulkner

A Rose for Emily book cover
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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

  • Except for the title, roses are never mentioned in the story. Why do you think Faulkner chose this title? Do you think the rose symbolizes anything in the story?
  • As the narrator is telling the story of how Emily’s taxes were remitted, he remarks that Colonel Sartoris is the father of an edict declaring that “no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron.” Why do you think the narrator mentions this law? What does this remark tell us about the Colonel Sartoris and the narrator?
  • Look up the definition of “eccentric” in the dictionary. Find examples of eccentric characters in literature and film. Compare your examples with Emily Grierson. What qualities do these characters share? What is there to admire or dislike about them?
  • Only once in the story does the narrator place an event in a specific year. Find that event and year and see if you can put together a chronology. Does it seem consistent and realistic? Why or why not?