Language

Style of language

The language used by William Faulkner in the short story “A Rose for Emily” is complex, as it mirrors the sociolect and the style of the time. The choice of words adds to the story’s authenticity. For example, words like “coquettish”, “august”, “pauper”, or “sibilant”  evoke past times and make the story more believable. Furthermore, some of the words used in the story have a negative connotation and are associated with death, like “pallid hue”, “decay”, “tarnished” or “skeleton”. Most of these words are used in connection to Emily, who is surrounded by symbols of death. The author also introduces the French expression “noblesse oblige” to suggest that Emily’s privilege and position require her to be responsible about who she wants to marry. 

The repetition “poor Emily” appears several times in the story. Every time, the townspeople comment upon Emily’s situation and pity her misfortune: “And as soon as the old people said, ‘Poor Emily,’ the whispering began”. Mostly, “poor Emily” is used when the townspeople comment on Emily and Homer’s relationship. 

Dialogue is used only briefly in the story, as the accent is more on Emily’s circumstances than on the way she communicates with...

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