The Shocking Ending of “A Rose For Emily”

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SWBAT make sense of the complex plot of “A Rose For Emily” by annotating as they read and engaging in discussion about the story.

Big Idea

A shocking end invites students to examine the text they read in ways that I have a difficult time getting them to do.


2 minutes

I remind students that the day before they read the first to sections of Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily” and that they annotated the texts and engaged in discussion. I tell them that we are doing the same today, but that we may have to speed up the process because I want us to finish the story in class today. So, we jump right into it.

Read And Discuss Section III

15 minutes

I ask students to take 10 minutes to read section III of the story, highlighting significant details and annotate the margin by asking questions and making comments. This is enough time for the faster readers to get through the reading as well as a good amount of highlighting and annotating. It is only enough time for the struggling readers to get through the reading and some of the annotating. That is ok. I am actually assigning any additional annotating for homework today. It is important to walk around and take a look at the progress students are making during these 10 minutes, especially the struggling readers. It may be necessary to tell individual students to get through the reading first and leave any annotating for the any remaining time. I want to make sure they can participate in the following discussion. 

I then give students an opportunity to ask questions and make comments about what they just read. Students ask the following:

So did she buy the arsenic? Was she seeing Homer? What does it mean when it says “she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson?”

I bounce all the questions back to the class and they do a pretty good job of suggesting answers and clarifying things for each other. They also share the creepy feeling they are getting from the story and their amusement at the way Miss Emily treats people like the pharmacist.


Read And Discuss Section IV

15 minutes

I then ask students to read section IV and do the same as section III. I also follow this with an invitation to ask questions and make comments. These are the questions students ask:

Did Homer leave her? Did the minister go talk to her? 

They work together to come up with answers, but students really just want to get back to reading the rest of the story so I let them.