William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” presents a variety of instances of illusion making conflicting with reality. The story’s narrator presents a southern community’s social perspective as well as the narrator’s unexpected voyeurism. Both the town and its narrator entertain romantic and social expectations of Miss Emily Grierson’s prospects for love and ultimately marriage. 1. Describe Miss Emily’s pursuit of her dreams and illusions. 2. What are the fantasies and expectations of a community that regards Miss Emily as “dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse?” 3. Why does the town sustain its illusions as vigilantly as Emily insists on fulfilling her emotional needs even to the extent of devaluing Homer Baron’s life? 4. Why is the town (represented by the obsessed narrator) as focused on her choices and her actions? 5. What does the story suggest about the nature of love –its limits and its power to distort one’s spirit and soul? Surely, the text’s grotesque and graphic conclusion has a meaning that is “inescapable” as it is “perverse.” These are the questions that might produce an absorbing and relevant analysis of a love denied as well as a community’s dysfunctional values.
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