"A Rose for Emily" by Willam Faulkner: What does the discovery of a strand of her hair on the pillow suggest and why doesn't the narrator continue the plot in chronological order?

Essay by star77College, UndergraduateB, May 2006

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In "A Rose for Emily," William Faulkner's use of language foreshadows and builds up to the climax of the story. His choice of words is descriptive, tying deeply into the theme through which Miss Emily Grierson threads, herself characteristic of the effects of time and the nature of the old and the new. Appropriately, the story begins with death, flashes back to the near distant past, and leads on to the demise of a woman and the traditions of the past she personifies. Faulkner has carefully crafted a multi-layered masterpiece, and he uses language, characterization, and chronology to move it along, a sober commentary flowing beneath on the nature of time, change, and chance--as well as a psychological narrative on the static nature of memory. The discovery of a strand of her hair on the pillow next to the rotting corpse suggests that she slept with the dead guy or, even worse, had sex with it.

Emily's cruel life therefore contributes to her (rather severe) psychological abnormality: necrophilia. Faulkner's cleverly constructed the story to show the elusive nature of time and memory For example, in section five of the story, the narrator describes the very old men gathered at Emily's funeral The old men, some who fought in the Civil War, mistakenly believe that Emily was a contemporary of theirs when in fact Emily was born sometime around the Civil War. The old men have confused

Faulkner does a very good job of developing the plot and unraveling this story he makes it sound as if poor old Emily is just like any other old lady down the street. You don't really know that much about her. The whole town went to her funeral after all. True that most of them were just curious about her...