A ROSE FOR EMILY
BY WILLIAM FAULKNER The narrator describes what happens after Emily dies. Emily’s body is laid out in the parlor, and the women, town elders, and two cousins attend the service.
The narrator describes the fear that some of the townspeople have that Emily will use the poison to kill herself.
The narrator recalls the time of Emily Grierson’s death and how the entire town attended her funeral in her home, which no stranger had entered for more than ten years.
The narrator describes a time thirty years earlier when Emily resists another official inquiry on behalf of the town leaders, when the townspeople detect a powerful odor emanating from her property.
The narrator describes a long illness that Emily suffers after this incident.
After some time has passed, the door to a sealed upstairs room that had not been opened in forty years is broken down by the townspeople. The room is frozen in time, with the items for an upcoming wedding and a man’s suit laid out. Homer Barron’s body is stretched on the bed as well, in an advanced state of decay. The onlookers then notice the indentation of a head in the pillow beside Homer’s body and a long strand of Emily’s gray hair on the pillow.
The summer after her father’s death, the town contracts workers to pave the sidewalks, and a construction company, under the direction of northerner Homer Barron, is awarded the job. Homer soon becomes a popular figure in town and is seen taking Emily on buggy rides on Sunday afternoons, which scandalizes the town and increases the condescension and pity they have for Emily. They feel that she is forgetting her family pride and becoming involved with a man beneath her station. As the affair continues and Emily’s reputation is further compromised, she goes to the drug store to purchase arsenic, a powerful poison. She is required by law to reveal how she will use the arsenic. She offers