William Faulkner, «A Rose for Emily », compendium.
The seminar started with two good presentations, one on The Great Gatsby, which we would return to the next day, and one on "A Rose for Emily". The student cleverly identified time and perspective as central issues in the short story.
It is in Jefferson, the Southern town in Yoknapathapwa county that Faulkner often used as the setting of his novels.
Both the description of the town and the house indicate that the place is going through a process of transformation from old-style Southern aristocracy to a modern industrial town, with all the changes that come with it in terms of social codes and conventions.
The issue of the failed tax collection is a case in point. Emily is the remainding symbol of this older society and must be respected still. When Emily says: "See Sartoris", it need not necessarily mean that she thinks he is still alive. It may be a subtle way of saying that Sartoris remitted the taxes and it cannot be undone.
First person narrator, a witness narrative.We readers in a sense join the «we », the collective perspective of the town the narrator represents.Unreliable narrator: most of what s/he knows is based upon gossip. A Modernist trait.
Emily is a kind of icon in the town, a symbol of old Southern aristocracy. New Critics Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren: «a combination of idol and scapegoat ». They feel her superiority and feel superior to her.
An attitude reflective of societal change: from aristocratic hierarchy to egalitarian democracy.
Story vs. Plot: .
A RECONSTRUCTION OF THE STORY OF "A ROSE FOR EMILY".
1860 Emily Grierson is born.
1890 Emily is 30 years old p.54, before her father's death.
1892 Emily's father dies p.54.
1893 Homer comes to work in Jefferson p.55.
1893 The courtship between Homer and Emily p.55.
1894 Emily buys arsenic p.56 "That was over a year after" [the courtship started].