A Rose for Emily

a rose for emilyA Rose for Emily by William Faulkner is one of the most studied English short stories in U.S. schools. Sadly, the original version would make little sense to all but the very best EFL learners. Faulkner’s writing style is known for its very long sentences and the way he often uses quite language to create imagery.

English Learner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Simplified English story which are not in our Intermediate Level 1800 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

When we simplify a short story we try hard not to change important examples of or especially good imagery. Unfortunately this has not been possible with A Rose for Emily. The two main areas of change are discussed below.

  • The first area is a matter of personal choice. On all but one occasion in the story, the uses the polite (at the time the story was written) word “Negro” when talking about African Americans from the South. However, he uses the word “” to talk about the workers from the North who were in Homer Barron’s work team. This was no doubt a choice of words on the Faulkner’s part to suggest that what he called Northern “day laborers” were of a lower class than Southern Negros. We have chosen not to do this and have used the same term for both groups.
  • The second area relates to parts of the story where there is a lot of difficult vocabulary. Here we have had to make changes in order to help English learners and meet our targets for simplified language. To understand this it is best to look at an example. One of the most descriptive s in the whole story is in the second paragraph where Faulkner describes Miss Emily’s house. He writes:

    It was a big, squarish house that had once been white, decorated with s and s and ed in the heavily style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street. But garages and cotton s had ed and d even the names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its and above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps – an among eyesores.

    old houseHere is what the house might have looked like before it started to decay, only on this one there is only one cupola and no spires or scrolled balconies. For the native speaker of my generation, Faulkner’s imagery in this passage is wonderful. But all this difficult language in two long sentences of 77 words is not helpful as part of an EFL exercise.



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(adj: complex) Not easy to understand or explain; not simple. 2000

angel(n: angel pl angels) 1. A messenger or attendant of God. 2. A person (such as a child) who is very good, kind, beautiful, etc. Your son is such an angel! Be an angel and get me a cup of tea, would you?
(adj: angelic) Like an angel. 4000

apron(n: apron pl aprons) A piece of cloth worn over the front of the body over clothes to keep them from getting dirty. 5000

(n: arsenic, noncount) A very poisonous chemical that is used especially to kill rats, mice and other pests. 9000

(adj: bloated) Very swollen; too full of liquid, gas, food, etc. 7000

(idiom: bottle-neck pl bottle-necks) A figure of speech used to talk about something that slows down a process, such as a narrow or blocked section of a highway or a pipeline. 9000

carefree(adj: carefree) Having no worries or problems; untroubled; lighthearted. 11000

carriage(n: carriage pl carriages) 1. A horse-drawn vehicle with four wheels that is used to carry people. 2. [British] A separate section of a train. A railway carriage. 4000

chinaware(n: chinaware, noncount) Tableware and other items made from fine Chinese ceramics. 2000

cigar(n: cigar pl cigars) A roll of tobacco leaves that is smoked, which is longer and thicker than a cigarette. 4000

(n: crack pl cracks) 1. A split or break in something that creates lines in its surface but does not separate it into pieces. (รอยแตก) 2. A sudden loud, sharp sound, such as when ice breaks or lightning strikes. (เสียงแตกเปรี้ยง)
(v: crack, cracks, cracked, cracking) 1. To make or cause a crack in something. The mirror cracked when she dropped it. (แตกร้าว) 2. To hit or press (something) so hard that it breaks apart or opens suddenly. He cracked open the eggs. (กะเทาะออก) 3. [of a voice] To change sharply in tone or pitch, especially because of strong emotion. Her voice cracked as she told them about the accident. 2000

cracked cup cracking eggs

crayon(n: crayon pl crayons) A stick of colored wax used for drawing. 5000

crazy(adj: crazy, crazier, craziest) 1. Mentally ill; affected with madness or insanity. 2. Very foolish or unreasonable. 3000

crystal(n: crystal, noncount) A special kind of expensive glass that is very clear. 3000

curious(adj: curious) 1. Interested and wanting to learn or know more about something or someone. I'm curious to find out whether he passed his exams. 2. Strange, unusual, or unexpected. She found a curious old clock in the attic. 3000

dough(n: dough, noncount) 1. A mixture of flour, water, and other ingredients that is baked to make bread, cookies, etc. 2. A slang word for money. 5000

fade(v: fade, fades, faded, fading) To lose strength, color, loudness etc. 3000

flesh(n: flesh, noncount) 1. The soft parts [meat, fat etc.] of the body of an animal or person. 2. The soft part of a fruit that is eaten.
(adj: fleshy, fleshier, fleshiest) 1. Large or fat; having a lot of flesh. A fleshy nose. 2. Soft and thick. A fleshy fruit. 4000

funeral(n: funeral pl funerals) The ceremony held for a dead person before their body is put in the ground [buried] or burned [cremated]. 3000

generation(n: generation pl generations) 1. All the people of approximately the same age or living at the same time. We need to take better care of the environment for future generations. 2. All of the people that are at the same stage of descent from a common ancestor. Mother and daughters represent two generations. 3. The average length of time between the birth of parents and the birth of their children, generally accepted as around 25-30 years. 2000

(n: grave pl graves) A piece of ground, or the hole dug in it, in which a dead person is buried.
(adj: grave, graver, gravest) To look serious and formal in what you are doing. 4000

grave grave look.jpg

(adj: high-and-mighty) Having or showing the attitude of someone who believes that they are better or more important than other people; haughty.

idol(n: idol; pl idols) 1. A picture or object that is worshiped as a god. 2. A greatly loved or admired person. 6000

lampshade(n: lampshade pl lampshades) A protective or decorative cover used to soften or direct the light of a lamp. 9000

lime(n: lime pl limes) A type of small, very sour, yellowish-green fruit related to the lemon.
(n: lime; noncount)The white substance left after heating limestone, used in making cement and in farming to improve the soil. 4000

(n: mayor pl mayors) An official who is elected to be the head of the government of a city or town. 2000

(n: negro pl negroes) An old-fashioned word for a person who has dark skin and who belongs to a race of people who are originally from Africa. 12000
As this word can be offensive, we only use it where we feel that it is important to the meaning of a story.

(n: nerve pl nerves) 1. One of the many thin cords which carry messages between all parts of the body and the brain. 2. Courage that allows you to do something that is dangerous, difficult, or frightening. 3. The rude attitude of someone who says or does things that make other people angry or upset [in which case you might say 'What a nerve!' when talking to or about them]. 2000
(phrasal verb: lose your nerve) To become afraid to do or try something.

pave(v: pave, paves, paved, paving) To cover [a street, path etc] with a material such as stone, tar, or concrete to form a hard, level surface for walking, driving, etc. 3000

poison(n: poison pl poisons) A substance that can cause people or animals to die or to become very sick if it gets into their bodies. 3000

pump(n: pump pl pumps) 1. A machine for making water etc rise from under the ground. 2. A machine or device for forcing liquid or gas into, or out of, something. 2000

reins(n: rein pl reins) A piece of rope or leather used to guide and control an animal such as a horse when riding, driving a carriage, etc. 6000
Usually attached to a device [called a bridle] placed on the head of the animal.

sheriff(n: sheriff pl sheriffs) In the U.S.A., an elected official who is in charge of enforcing the law in a county or town. (นายอำเภอ) 6000

sidewalk(n: sidewalk pl sidewalks) Used in the U.S. and Canada to describe a path along the side of a street for people to walk on. Usually called pavement in the U.K. and footpath in Australia. (ทางเท้า) 5000

skeleton(n: skeleton pl skeletons) The structure of bones that supports the body of a person or animal. (โครงกระดูก) 3000

(v: tease, teases, teased, teasing) 1. To annoy or bother (a person or animal) on purpose. (หยอกล้อ) 2. To laugh at or criticize (someone) in a way that is either friendly and playful or cruel and unkind. (หยอกเย้า) 3. To make (someone) feel excited or interested about something you might do or say without actually doing it or saying it. (ยั่วเย้า) (n) A woman who uses her sex appeal to take advantage of men. (ผู้หญิงที่ยั่วยวนผู้ชาย) 3000

(n: tick pl ticks) 1. A small, quick, regular sound that is made by a machine, especially that of a watch, clock etc. (เสียงดังติ๊ก ๆ) 2. A mark (✓) used to show that something is correct, has been noted etc. (เครื่องหมายขีด) 2000

tomb(n: tomb pl tombs) A building or chamber (above or below the ground) where a dead body is kept. (หลุมฝังศพ) 7000

wagon(n: wagon pl wagons; British waggon) A four-wheeled vehicle for carrying heavy loads or passengers, usually pulled by animals. (รถสี่ล้อที่มีเครื่องยนต์หรือลากด้วยม้า) 3000

whip(n: whip pl whips) A long cord or piece of leather attached to a handle, used for driving horses and forcing farm animals to move or work. (แส้) 3000

whisper(n: whisper pl whispers) A very quiet sound, especially something said. (การกระซิบ; การส่งเสียงเบา ๆ)
(v: whisper, whispers, whispered, whispering) To speak or say something very softly. (กระซิบ) 5000

yard(n: yard pl yards) 1. The area of ground around a house, usually covered with grass or plants. (สนาม) 2. An area of enclosed (fenced) ground used for a special purpose. (ลานบ้าน) 3. An old British unit of length equal to three feet or 0.9144 meters. (หลา) 2000

narrator(n: narrator pl narrators) Someone who tells a story; a storyteller. 7000

(adj: racist) A person or group of people who believe that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
(n: racism, noncount) 1. The belief that some races of people are better than others. 2. Poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race, usually involving the idea that one’s race is superior and has the right to control others. 3000

(n: nigger pl niggers) A very offensive racist word for a person who has dark skin and belongs to a race of people who are originally from Africa. 7000
As this word is very offensive, we only use it where we feel that it is important to the meaning of a story.

(adj: deliberate) Done or decided after careful thought; not by accident. (ซึ่งทำอย่างรอบคอบและตั้งใจ) 3000

(n: passage pl passages) 1. A short section of a book, poem, speech, piece of music, etc. 2. A narrow space that people or things can move through. 3000

book passage water passage

frame(n: frame pl frames) 1. An open structure that holds something [such as glass or a picture] in place. 2. A hard main structure around which something is built or made, such as the wooden frame of a house or the steel frame of an airplane. 2000

cupola(n: cupola pl cupolas) 1. A rounded roof or part of a roof; dome. 2. A small structure that is built on top of a roof. 14000

spire(n: spire pl spires) A tall, narrow, pointed structure on the top of a building. (ยอดแหลมของตึก) 9000

scroll(n: scroll pl scrolls) 1. A roll of paper or parchment with writing on it. (ม้วนกระดาษมีตัวหนังสือ) 2. A decoration that looks like the curled ends of a scroll. (สิ่งที่เป็นม้วนหรือขด) 7000

balconies(n: balcony pl balconies) A raised platform that is connected to the side of a building and surrounded by a low wall or railing. 5000

carefree(adj: lightsome) Carefree and happy; lighthearted.

(n: gin, noncount) A clear, strong alcoholic drink that is flavored with juniper berries.
(n: gin pl gins) A machine that separates the seeds of cotton plants from the cotton. 4000

(v: encroach, encroaches, encroached, encroaching) To gradually move or go into an area that is beyond the usual or legal limits. 7000

(v: obliterate, obliterates, obliterated, obliterating) To destroy (something) completely so that nothing is left. 7000

(n: august pl augusts) The eighth month of the year.
(adj: august) Of a respected or noble person or quality. 2000

stubborn(adj: stubborn) Refusing to change your ideas or to stop doing something; unwilling to listen to advice; inflexible. (ดื้อรั้น) 6000

(adj: coquettish) Teasing, in the way of a woman who uses her sex appeal to appeal to or take advantage of men.

(n: decay, noncount) The act or process of slowly going from a bad condition to a worse condition or being slowly destroyed by natural processes. 4000

(n: eyesore pl eyesores) An ugly object or building. 6000

Extensive reading is exactly the same kind of reading that a learner would normally do for enjoyment in their own language – but in English and at a level where he/she can easily understand what they read. It requires reading long conversations and passages in English without using a dictionary. Much as in real life, being able to understand the overall meaning of what you read is more important than understanding every word.

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