Foreshadowing is an advance sign or warning of what is to come in the future. Foreshadowing is used as a literary device to tease readers about plot turns that will occur later in the story. In the story, “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, several examples are used to achieve the surprising but believable ending. The extremely strong scent about Ms. Emily’s house and the purchase of the poison are just what of these examples of foreshadowing in this story. The first example of foreshadowing is the horrible stench that the townspeople complain about.
In the quote, “just as if a man – any man- could keep a kitchen properly,” it shows how the women accuse the male servant of the smell because they stereotype how bad men are in the kitchen since it isn’t their place. Anthor accusation of the smell from the butler is Judge Steven when he states “ its probably just a snake or rat that nigger of hers killed in the yard.” These two quotes suggest the smell to be from the butler but kept us on the edge of what the smell really was. The townspeople tried to resolve the issue, as some of the men decided to sprinkle lime around her house in hopes it would alleviate the stench. However, the smell did not dissipate for another week or two. If the odor had come from a mere snake or rat, the smell would have persisted for only a few days. In anthor section of the story Emily plans on buying arsenic.
This is the next example of foreshadowing. “I want the best you have. I don’t care what kind,” this quote made by Emily to the town druggist when she wants the strongest poison. This questions the reader what she might need it for and why the strongest one. The druggist answers back to her, “they’ll kill anything up to an elephant,” the druggist made this point to let Miss Emily know that it kills huge animals not only just rats. When Emily goes home she finds written on the box, under the skull and cross bones- “ for rats,” this suggest to the reader to think whether she might use it on herself or for someone else. Therefore in the ending of the story, when Miss Emily dies and the townspeople discover the corpse of Homer Barron, the reader recalls the use of foreshadowing, Miss Emily buying the poison and the horrible stench that was coming from the house. Faulkner in fact prepares the reader for Homer Barron’s death at the hands of Miss Emily almost from the very beginning. The use of foreshadowing throughout the story contributes to the unity of the story and allows the reader to accept
the lovers’ fate as inevitable.