Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: “A Rose for Emily”
- Where Written: Oxford, Mississippi
- When Published: April 30, 1930
- Literary Period: American Modernism
- Genre: Southern Gothic
- Setting: The fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi, located in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, where many of Faulkner’s works are set
- Climax: The townspeople’s discovery that Miss Emily murdered Homer Barron and lived with his corpse
- Antagonist: Southern society’s paralyzing nostalgia for a glorified past, as well as its rigid customs and conventions
- Point of View: First-person plural (“we”) limited
A Rose for the Title. Readers will notice that, though the story is entitled “A Rose for Emily,” Emily never receives a rose. Faulkner explained in an interview: “Oh, that was an allegorical title: the meaning was, here was a woman who had had a tragedy, an irrevocable tragedy and nothing could be done about it. And I pitied her and this was a salute. Just as if you were to make a gesture, a salute to anyone: to a woman you would hand a rose.”
A Family Legacy. Colonel Sartoris, a minor character in “A Rose for Emily,” appears in other works by Faulkner, including the novels Flags in the Dust and The Unvanquished; he is modeled on Faulkner’s own great-grandfather, William Clark Falkner, a Confederate colonel in the Civil War, a businessman, and an author.