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You are watching: Who is the narrator of a rose for emily


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In addition to being unreliable because the narrator does not actually know Miss Emily or her life personally (rather, he learns everything of her through rumors and stories told by others), the narrator is unreliable because it seems that what has made Miss Emily especially notable is what was discovered...


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In addition to being unreliable because the narrator does not actually know Miss Emily or her life personally (rather, he learns everything of her through rumors and stories told by others), the narrator is unreliable because it seems that what has made Miss Emily especially notable is what was discovered about her after her death. The narrator does not feel compelled to tell her story prior to her death, seeing her only as a "tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town." The narrator does not even seem to think of her as a real person until she is dead. Only after her death and the discovery of the decayed body of Homer Barron do certain events in her life begin to take on real meaning.

While she lived, she was simply an idiosyncratic, anachronistic throwback to the Old South: a woman who used to be called a lady but who has completely lost touch with the world and changing times around her. Because the narrator tells the story knowing how it turns out—knowing what Emily has, apparently, done—it colors the telling of it.

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In addition, the narrator—a first-person plural, "we"—seems to profess a rather intimate knowledge of events dating back even further than 1894, the year in which Emily"s father died, which must be thirty or forty years prior to the end of the story. It is hard to believe that it is just one person who has all this information, and the notion of an entire group of people telling a reliable "truth" seems pretty far-fetched, as people tend to disagree. The plurality of the narrator also makes the speaker suspect.