30 August 2013
“A Rose for Emily” Plot/Structure
The plot of “A Rose for Emily” separates from the structure of most short stories by not following the typical chronological order. William Faulkner uses flashbacks to give a better understanding of the external conflict between the protagonist, Miss Emily, and society. The nonlinear plot structure of “A Rose for Emily” creates a different way of comprehending the narrative by keeping the true nature of Miss Emily questionable.
Faulkner begins the first section in present time, giving a recap of Emily’s life as the local ...view middle of the document...
The cause of the smell is revealed at the end. Another flashback occurs in section three, recounting when Miss Emily first begins seeing the man people believed she would marry, Homer Barron. Miss Emily ends up going to the pharmacy to purchase arsenic. This keeps the reader in suspense because the real reason of purchasing the arsenic is never revealed.
The last flashback is in section four, when the people of the town believe Emily was going to commit suicide. This causes the women to insist that the Baptist Minister to talk some sense into Emily. He does, never speaking of what happened but refusing to go back again. This causes the reader to wonder what Miss Emily had told the Baptist Minster.
The reader returns to present time in the ending of the short story, where the flashbacks are understood and the reader’s questions are answered. The locals break open a sealed upstairs room in Emily’s house at her funeral. The room is frozen in time, with items of a wedding laid out. The decomposed corpse of Homer Barron is stretched out upon the bed, a strand of Emily’s hair is seen along with an indentation of a head on the pillow beside his body.
“A Rose for Emily” plot structure keeps the reader interested while confused from the beginning to the very end. The nonlinear plot structure of the short story seems like a puzzle at first; you’re given bits and pieces, solving it at the very end.