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Chronology in ‘A Rose for Emily’


William Faulkner takes into consideration the ever-complicated concept of time in “A Rose for Emily”. It is a symptom his contemplation on the nature of time. It does not have a standard chronology.

Faulkner capture nearly three quarters of century in a couple of page story. He does it fantastically by preventing a correct chronological order.

Faulkner masterfully put the story approximately demonstrate the indefinable and intangible character of time. He constructs it in such a subtle way that it is hard to identify any chronological order of the plot. Time does not flow in a linear instructions but take a circular direction with the development of story.

Fault consciously or automatically does not concern himself with particular dates. A handful of explicit dates are pointed out in the story. But these signs expose as plenty of info about the direct chronology of the vents. For example, it is quite clear that remittance of Emily’s taxes by Colonel Sartoris happens in 1894.

It is additional supplied that he is dead for the last 10 years and this the time Emily fulfills the brand-new aldermen. Story further discloses that Emily passed away at 74. This hint capacitates us to build a direct chronology of the events.

The linear series of occasions in Emily’s life is as follow; Section 4 shows her birth during civil war. Area 2 describes a joint ride with her dad in an old wagon.

Her father dies. Homer Barron appears on the scene and an amorous affairs starts with Emily in section 3. She buys male lavatory set and outfits for him in area 4. We are again forced to revert back to area 3 when town individuals degrade him and reverted back and summon her cousin. Area 4 is marked with the arrival of cousins and departure of Homer from the town.

He returns back after the exit of her cousins. We once again slip back to section 3 where Emily purchase toxin from a regional vendor and Homer disappears in the next section. Area 2 highlight stink from her home suggesting his death and 4 aldermen are revealed sprinkling water on her tomb. Faulkner has used a novel story strategy as story begins with Emily’s funeral service (completion) and concludes with the finding of Homer’s rotten dead body.

Faulkner’s idea of time and its efficient usage does not compromise the story but it is the most obvious strength of its plot, construction and thematic expressions. Although discussion of time in this manner is mainly related goes through philosophical orientation of the author but it had deep influence on the plot.

He merges past into present and present into past and this function of the story captivates the reader. “Faulkner offers the story a chronology, however as with many of his stories, we have to arrange it out” (McGlynn 461); Moreover, it prevents the formulation of reader’s judgment about Emily till completion.

The results of this non-linear chronology on the story are magnificently summarized by McGlynn (1969 ). He says that “A chronology of ‘A Rose for Emily’ is useful for at least two reasons: it makes the plot more quickly understandable, and it helps clarify the function of time in the story” (461 ).

By averting a clear and linear sequential order of events, Faulkner tries to supply his reader a riddle comprised of different bits. However, he offers ideas to facilitate this puzzle-solving. The motive behind this exercise seems to involve his reader more deeply in the story.


Faulkner, William. A rose for Emily. Columbus; Merrill. 1970.

McGlynn, Paul D. William Faulkner: An Analysis; “The Chronology of ‘A Rose for Emily,”‘ Studies in other words Fiction. 6. 1969.

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