The narrator need not therefore pass those stringent

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would for such characters. The narrator need not, therefore, pass those stringent tests of coherence that elements comprising a character in a work must undergo. Such narrators are functional constructs and as such are permitted a chameleon-like personality.” Perry 345-346. 158 Norman N. Holland, “Fantasy and Defense in Faulkner’s uni02BB A Rose for Emily uni02BC ,” Hartford Studies in Literature 1972: 6. Cf. Kempton 31. As Menakhem Perry observes, in his careful analysis of the story, “[t]he story gives no exact age-indicators relating to the narrator, but at various stages of the story the impression received is that the narrator is one of the younger men even though all these stages cover a period of more than forty years.” Perry 345. 159 Nikolaus Happel, “William Faulkner’s uni02BB A Rose for Emily’,” William Faulkner: “A Rose for Emily,” ed. M. Thomas Inge (Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill, 1970) 68-69. 160 Alice Robertson, “The Ultimate Voyeur: The Communal Narrator of ‘A Rose for Emily’,” Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction Apr. 2006: 156. 161 Robertson 157. 162 Robertson 157.
- 49 - feature of the narrative. Besides other misreadings, the most important one is Robertson’s claim that the narrator “can’t be uni02BB the citizens of Jefferson’.” 163 Though concerned more with the detective story structure in “A Rose for Emily,” Lawrence Rodgers observes that “the narrator himself is speaking as a representative voice of Jefferson (or, in using the uni02BB we’ pronoun throughout, perhaps even as the collective voice of the town).” 164 Rodgers speaks of the narrator as of “this vox populi 165 or “the collective sensibility the narrator represents” 166 ; nonetheless, given his focus, he does not provide any insight into the collective nature of the narrator. Ruth Sullivan provides a rare example of a critic who takes the obvious textual evidence into consideration and derives from it the logical conclusion: “Who is the narrator? Not a single person because Faulkner uses a first-person plural point of view, uni02BB we’; that uni02BB we’ is townspeople […].” 167 How is it then, that such an obvious interpretation has been missed by so many critics? I think there are two main reasons why the majority of the critics take the individuality of the narrator as apparent despite the narrator’s explicit and exclusive use of collective denominations, mainly we , in reference to itself. Firstly, those critics who see the narrator as “one of the townspeople,” 168 subscribe to the traditional distinction of narrative into first- and third-person. For them, identifying the narrator is part of the “fundamental question involved in uni02BB where to stand uni02BC ,” which involves “the basic choice between first- and third-person narration.” 169 Thus the critics are trapped; they are stuck with two possibilities neither of which is appropriate for “A Rose for Emily”. Secondly, stemming from the first reason, critics who have marked the narrator as an individual, misread passages of the narrative based on their view of the narrator and create unnecessary problems challenging their readings. Even

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