Sunday, September 21, 2008

Suspension of Disbelief in A Rose for Emily

Edgar Allan Poe thought that the short story was a unique medium; he thought that its length lends itself to the most effective immersion of oneself into the story. Faulkner, in a Rose for Emily takes this notion to an entire new level. One of the hardest tasks for any literary work is to suspend disbelief. To create a world that is not necessarily realistic, but one that you feel a part of in a moment when your skepticism is neutralized and your imagination begins to work in overdrive. Suspension of Disbelief is at the core of enjoying fantasy novels, getting scared from gothic stories, and appreciating literature in general.
A Rose for Emily is uniquely tailored to suspend disbelief. It meets the requirements of length set out by Poe. The chronology’s non-linear progression organized in episodes makes the suspension of disbelief even greater because the novel is essentially divided into short episodes. One is not only reading a short story, but what seems to be a collection of short episodes that hold you for just enough time before moving on. The fact that is non-linear creates suspense and makes the reader an active participant in the story. One can’t merely read line after line. One must play the detective in Faulkner’s tale, in order to understand the motives behind the protagonist, the point of view of the narrator, and the episodes progression in a possible manner. The narrator plays an important part in immersing one in the novel. It is narrating using the pronoun “we”, including the reader on his side, inviting him to look at the facts from the town’s point of view. The resources used function so effectively one feels that one is sitting in a small town in the south sipping tea and gossiping about poor Emily.

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