Foreshadowing in “A Rose for Emily” Lesson Plan

WHEN Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole faculty went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her classroom, which no new lesson plan save an old crossword puzzle–a combined review and word exercise–had been in at least ten years.

The replacement teacher was shocked to find a brilliant collection of “A Rose for Emily” lesson plans in her filing cabinet, never used, lesson plans that could have given her classroom the life it needed.

Rose for Emily Lesson Plan

I know what you’re here for. Here it is: Foreshadowing in “A Rose for Emily” Lesson Plan. It’s a part of the “Rose for Emily” unit.

“A Rose for Emily” Summary

"Rose for Emily" Lesson Plan

Click the picture for the Foreshadowing in “A Rose for Emily” lesson plan. For more like it, check out the “Rose for Emily” unit.

Just giving you a head’s up that this “Rose for Emily” summary contains spoilers.

Part 1. The story begins at the end. Emily has died and we are taken to her funeral. The town’s excited about the funeral because they get to look inside Emily’s house, where no one, other than her servant, has entered in 10 years. The narrator informs the reader that Emily has enjoyed special tax-free privileges since 1894, on account of what Colonel Sartoris claims was a substantial amount of money Emily’s father gave the town before his death.

The town leaders who come after Colonel Sartoris’ death feel the tax-free status needs to end. Emily disagrees and promptly shews the tax collectors out of her home. They had been the last visitors before her death. Emily never pays taxes.

Part 2. Flashback time: Thirty years before the aforementioned tax men come, and two years after her father’s death, the townspeople notice a horrible stench emanating from Emily’s house. Nobody knows what to do. For one, Emily is a lady and to tell a lady her house smells is very ungentlemanly. They also feel sorry for her, since she is alone after her father’s death and after the man she is to marry mysteriously disappears. They solve the stink problem by sprinkling lime around the house at night. The smell goes away.

We then get another flashback to the death of Emily’s father. Many come to console her. She denies her father has died and shews away visitors before finally admitting, after three days, that her father has, in fact, died.

Part 3. Emily falls ill after her father’s death. The summer after his death, the town contracts workers to pave the sidewalk around the house and hires a construction company, headed by a man named Homer Barron. The townspeople like Homer and often see Homer and Emily taking buggy rides on Sunday afternoons. This creates a bit of a scandal, as Homer is considered beneath Emily’s societal rank.

The affair continues. Emily buys arsenic from the local apothecary and refuses to tell him what it’s for. A package shows up on her doorstep, labeled “for rats.”

Part 4. Many people in town fear that Emily has ordered the poison to kill herself. Despite their continued Sunday buggy rides and the continuance of their affair, it becomes unlikely Emily and Homer will marry. The women in town encourage the local Baptist minister to have a talk with Emily. He visits, but refuses to disclose the particulars of the conversation with anyone and invites Emily’s cousins from Alabama to come visit.

A monogrammed toilet set with Homer’s initials arrive at the house, rekindling the rumors of marriage in the town. After the cousin’s leave, Homer shows up one evening, enters the house, and is never seen again. Emily remains in the house and rarely allows visitors. She refuses to pay her taxes and boards up the top floor. Other than an occasional spotting near a window, Emily is not seen until her death at the age of 74.

Part 5. The narrator tells what happens after Emily’s death: After her funeral, townspeople break into a room that appears to have not been changed for forty years. Items for an upcoming wedding, including a man’s suit, is laid out. Homer Barron’s decayed body is laid on the bed. Next to his body is the indentation of a head on the pillow and a strand of Emily’s hair.

“A Rose for Emily” Lesson Plans and Analysis

"A Rose for Emily" Unit

Don’t have time to plan? You won’t need to. These “Rose for Emily” Lesson Plans are ready to print and copy. No preparation needed. The unit plan contains lesson plans, graphic organizer handouts with answer keys, essay rubrics, a summary and analysis of the story, discussion ideas, a quiz, a copy of the story, and more.
Lessons focus on setting and mood, imagery, Southern Gothic, foreshadowing, plot, setting, theme, literary analysis, and more.

If you’re like me, you’ll definitely want to do more than a quick read through and a summary. Here are discussion ideas and lesson plan ideas.

“A Rose for Emily” Discussion Ideas

  • Southern Gothic According to the Oxford Dictionary online, “characteristics of Southern Gothic include the presence of irrational, horrific, and transgressive thoughts, desires, and impulses; grotesque characters; dark humor, and an overall angst-ridden sense of alienation.”
  • Setting and Mood The town takes on a life of its own, as does the house.
  • Symbolism The most prominent symbol is the house in which Emily lives. It contains a dark secret, although how secretive the secret really is to the townspeople is unclear. The unwillingness of the town to follow through on its duty to levy taxes on the house symbolize the town’s looking the other way to what any competent public official would investigate.
  • StructureStudents who are only accustomed to chronological stories may struggle to understand Faulkner’s narration. Faulkner uses flashback and a broken narrative style. The structure reflects the story’s content—this is one messed up town and one messed up lady. The structure also reflects the labyrinthine nature of traditional gothic settings.
  • ForeshadowingThere are enough hints throughout the story that indicate there’s a dark secret contained in the house. There are enough hints throughout the story that Emily has committed a disturbing act.

“A Rose for Emily” Lesson Plan Ideas

Be sure to check out the full “Rose for Emily” lesson plan collection on the right. Here are a few ideas.

  1. Story Map. After finishing the story, instruct students to recreate the events using a story map, putting the events in chronological order.
  2. Characterization. Connect with the freaks of Southern Gothic literature.
  3. Setting and Atmosphere. Faulkner establishes the story’s atmosphere through its setting.
  4. Literary Analysis and Southern Gothic Fiction. Faulkner is considered the most prominent writer of Southern Gothic Fiction.
  5. Theme. Isolation, Alienation, Stuck in the Past.
  6. Sensory Details and Imagery. The sensory details employed by Faulkner make this story memorable.


Share This: