Create a 2 pages page paper that discusses way of narration in a rose for emily.

The story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner utilizes a third person limited narrator. There are a few times that the narrator says “we,” implying that the narrator is either a member of the town or supposed to collectively represent the people of the town. Because of this, the narrator is unreliable, not because the narrator necessarily intends to be so, but because the limited amount of information that a limited narrator has access to. Through limited access to information, the secretive nature of the main character, and the beliefs and prejudices of the narrator/ people of the town, Faulkner created an unreliable narrator, whether he intended to or not.

In stories that feature an omniscient narrator, the author is able to inform the reader of any of the characters’ thoughts and feelings. By limiting the amount of information that the narrator is able to give to the reader, the characters must make inferences about other characters in the story, and this forces the reader to also make inferences regarding the type of information that the characters in the story made. For example, the narrator states that “We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that” (318). This was in reference to when she refused to admit that her father had died. Of course, it is likely that some people might have thought that she was, in fact, crazy, because it is unlikely that the entire town held the same opinion about this event. It would have been distracting to the story if the narrator had attempted to portray all of the feelings that of the people of the town regarding the events. This was the view that was given because it also led to the assertion that she had nothing left because her father had driven away all of her suitors. For the sake of brevity and because it let the narrator give some exposition in regards to why Emily would not have gotten married, the narrator necessarily had to be in some sense unreliable.

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Beyond the fact that the narrator was limited in the information that was available, the amount of information was limited by the fact that Emily was a very secretive person, and there were long periods of time in which nobody actually got any sort of information about her. For example, the narrator states that “From that time on her front door remained closed save during a period of six or seven years, during which she gave lessons in china-painting” (320). Because she was so secretive, the narrator was forced to make more inferences in regards to Emily than would have to be made about any of the other people of the town.

Because the narrator had to make a lot of assumptions about Emily, it was more likely that their prejudices would play a prominent role in the making of these assumptions. For example, the narrator states that “’Just as if a man—any man—could keep a kitchen properly’” (316). This line shows that the people of the town expressed prejudices, and because they do have these prejudices, they are the more likely to come to conclusions about other people, such as the way they did with Emily. With these three aspects of the narration considered, it seems obvious that the narrator was necessarily unreliable, regardless of Faulkner’s intentions.

The use of a limited third person narration is similar to utilizing first person and third person at the same time. The amount of information is limited as in a first person narration, and the author avoids using “I” making statements in this fashion. While the use of an unreliable narrator was developed specifically to make the reader question the veracity of information being received, the assertion could be made that all first-person narration is necessarily to an extent unreliable, because such as in real life, the narrator is unable to know the thoughts of another person, and information passed in this manner isn’t always reliable.

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