A Rose for Emily

WHY DOES THIS WOMAN BUY POISON?

“I want some poison,” she said to the druggist. She was over thirty then, still a slight woman, though thinner than usual, with cold, haughty black eyes in a face the flesh of which was strained across the temples and about the eye sockets as you imagine a lighthouse-keeper’s face ought to look. “I want some poison,” she said.

“Yes, Miss Emily. What kind? For rats and such? I’d recom-“

“I want the best you have. I don’t care what kind.”

The druggist named several. “They’ll kill anything up to an elephant. But what you want is-“

'’Arsenic,” Miss Emily said. “Is that a good one?”

“Is… arsenic? Yes, ma’am. But what you want-“

“I want arsenic.”

The druggist looked down at her. She looked back at him, erect, her face like a strained flag. “Why, of course,” the druggist said. “If that’s what you want. But the law requires you to tell what you are going to use it for.” Miss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic and wrapped it up.

William Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily;’ Collected Stories of William Faulkner.

  1. What is meant by the description of Miss Emily’s face as being similar to a “strained flag”?
  • She is about to cry.
  • She is very tense.
  • She appears lonely.
  • She seems quite fragile.
  • She is strangely pale.
  1. Based on this excerpt, how would Miss Emily most likely walk across a crowded room?
  • carefully, trying not to bump into anyone
  • energetically stomping with heavy footsteps.
  • shyly, with her head down and with small footsteps
  • confidently, with her head held high
  • clumsily, sometimes stumbling into people
  1. Based on this excerpt, which of the following descriptions best characterizes Miss Emily?
  • She cannot make up her mind.
  • She is open about her life.
  • She is embarrassed that her house has rats.
  • She has a limited income.
  • She intimidates other people.
  1. Based on the dialogue in this excerpt, how is Miss Emily’s demeanor different from that of the druggist?
  • Miss Emily is grumpy, but the druggist is friendly.
  • Miss Emily is talkative, but the druggist is brief.
  • Miss Emily is forceful, but the druggist is accommodating.
  • Miss Emily is calm, but the druggist is impatient.
  • Miss Emily is rational, but the druggist is suspicious.