The Southern Gothic and William Faulkner

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  • In the first paragraph of the story, we see that Faulkner uses a first person plural narrator. Why do you think Faulkner prefers this? How does this affect your understanding of the story?
  • Why is Miss Emily Grierson described as “a fallen monument”?
  • What could Miss Emily’s house represent? Comment on the narrator’s description of the house in the first and the fifth paragraphs.
  • What does the father’s portrait, as mentioned in the fifth paragraph, represent? Does the narrator mention about the portrait anywhere else in the story? If yes, in what ways could this be significant?
  • What could Miss Emily’s ticking watch symbolize? What does it tell us about Miss Emily? How does the watch contribute to our understanding of the themes of the story?
  • Part 3 opens with the following paragraph: “She was sick for a long time. When we saw her again, her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows–sort of tragic and serene.” What might be the reason for the narrator’s emphasis on her looking like a girl?
  • What do we learn about the attitude of the community towards the relationship between Homer Barron and Miss Emily in Part 3?
  • Comment on the following excerpt: “When the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them.” Why not?
  • Comment on the title of the story: What does “rose” symbolize?
  • What does the depiction of the manservant tell us about the historical and social context in America then? How do the townspeople approach him? What is his name and what might it connote?

 

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