Monday, September 22, 2008

A Reproduction of the Real World

I find Faulkner’s ability to capture the nature of gossip in his short story “A Rose for Emily” amazing. The way the story is told perfectly replicates the way gossip is told every day by all kinds of people. Faulkner was certainly an excellent observer, which is part of what makes him a great writer.

The continuous use of “we” in the story lets the reader know that the whole town is fascinated with Emily. This method of narration also gives the story a very colloquial feel and gives hints about what kind of person the narrator must be. The narrator is certainly a busy body, and appears to have strong connections with the community.

The jumps in the narration from past to present also make the story seem more personal. The narrator, like any real person, forgets details of the story, which are later added. The fact that Emily dies is told before any of the details leading up to her death. This passage is a perfect illustration of the erratic storytelling, “ …Homer himself had remarked—he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elk’s Club—that he was not a marrying man.”

It is rare people ever find a case for gossip as interesting as the story of “A Rose for Emily”, but the form Faulkner uses is one we hear used every day. I think it takes a brilliantly observant person to produce a story that feels and sounds so much like real life. Faulkner’s work is a magnificent achievement.

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