The Trust of a Reader
Although "A Rose for Emily," by William Faulkner and "A Tell- Tale Heart," by Edgar Allan Poe are both similar in that they tell a story of murder, both authors use a different approach with respect to point of view. In Faulkner's piece the narrator is in the first person but removed from the action, while Poe's narrator, although also a first person, is the central character in the story. Faulkner's character is someone that the reader can trust and identify with while Poe presents a character that is unreliable and may even be considered "mad".
The identity of the narrator in "A Rose for Emily" is never revealed yet the reader seems to believe him. Since the narrator is not directly involved in the story, he has no reason to fabricate what takes place. The reader comes to understand that the narrator is part of the community or town in the first sen
tence when he says "our whole town went to her funeral" and that he speaks for the whole town. " Finally, when the narrator talks about the "vulture eye" and how obsessed he is with it, the reader can call Poe's narrator insane, "until, at length, a single dim ray, like the thread of a spider, shot from out the crevice and full upon the vulture eye. The reader can infer this from the very first sentence he proclaims, "True! -nervous-very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say I am mad" The reader can see from here that the narrator even questions whether he believes himself to be mad or not. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. This tells the reader that he has a wealth of knowledge about the community and the history of Miss Emily. Although insightful about Miss Emily and her history, the narrator is not directly immersed in the story plot so what he says is valid. It was open- wide, wide open-and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. "Edgar Allan Poe's narrator is crazy and untrustworthy. From the initial lines in the story the narrator questions his own sanity. " "I moved it (the door knob) slowly- very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep. " Since the narrator seems to know so much about the history of Miss Emily, it makes it even easier to trust that he is honest and knowledgeable, unlike the character in "A Tell-Tale Heart. He conveys this when he shares several stories about Miss Emily, elaborating the alderman's visit to her house to collect the taxes: "A deputation waited upon her, knocking at the door through which no visitor's had passed since she stopped giving china-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier. He also reveals his obsession with the "vulture eye" and his heinous assassination of the old man. ------------------------------------------------------------------------Bibliography. "Edgar Allan Poe confirms that his narrator is deranged and because of this the reader cannot honor what the narrator contends as truth.