William Faulkner is identified as a Southern writer, showcasing the issues and peculiarities of this part of the USA. To this extent, his short stories and novels reflect the culture, language and religion of the American hinterland. A Rose for Emily is no exception. Although set in a fictional city named Jefferson in Mississippi, the details distinguish it as a southern city.
A clear indicator of a southern city is the style of language – the southern dialect as it were. Through all dialogues, especially those used by the illiterate or rural folk, the southern accent is evident. Faulkner’s style also captures the social hierarchy within the city. It is on account of Emily’s high social status that her tax evasions are tolerated and her privileged lifestyle permitted. The epitome of this is when the town police pour lime around Emily’s house to absorb the foul smell emanating, instead of actually going inside and investigating.
Faulkner uses tragic irony in this powerful short story. Although outwardly Emily is a privileged and honoured person, her personal life is one of turmoil. The nature of her reclusive final few years is tragically revealed when the locked secret room of hers is broken open. There is the shocking image of Homer’s decomposed body, alongside which Emily had been sleeping during her reclusive years. Faulkner’s style thus employs shock to evoke emotive and make the reader realize the import of the scene.
Finally, Faulkner’s style can be said to be terse and to the point, making his story well-crafted. There is no use of flamboyant or flowery language. Complying with rules for a well-made short story, A Rose for Emily the circumstances and details are carefully constructed to have maximum impact at the time of the plot’s resolution. In this case, it is that moment when people break open Emily’s secret chamber and discover the tragedy behind her life.