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Title - the story The tax evasion memory enlightens the...

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Katie Davidson Professor Nolan Rhetoric & Intro to Literature II-4001 27 August 2009 A Questionable Narrator for Emily In William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” the limited omniscient narrator adds suspense to the story, but his unreliability ultimately leaves the reader with more questions than answers. Faulkner allows the reader to shift forward and backward in time, much in the same way the human mind recalls the past. The human mind, however, is not perfect. People like to stretch the truth to make a story seem more interesting or hint at possible motivations for actions, as the narrator does periodically through the story. For example, when Emily buys the rat poison, the narrator assumes that she wants to kill herself. In an attempt to mimic the human mind, Faulkner strays from telling the story in chronological order, saving Emily’s most grisly act for last. Readers do not know if the narrator is leaving out anything; they must simply trust
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Unformatted text preview: the story. The tax evasion memory enlightens the reader on Emily’s mental state, and there are plenty of clues after that hint at her macabre act. For example, the smell is first mentioned in part II. Though the reader initially attributes the odor to the state of Emily’s disheveled house, the eerie appearance of Emily sitting motionless by the window foreshadows her appearance in death. It is only later that we realize that “the smell” is actually the decaying corpse of Homer Barron (Faulkner 30). The reader should not trust the narrator, however, because there is no proof of foul play other than a strand of gray hair. The reader can only speculate as to the final moments of Homer Barron’s life, ultimately leaving the reader’s view of Emily tainted by the narrator and much open to interpretation....
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