William Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962) was a Nobel Prize-winning American author. One of the most influential writers of the 20th century, his reputation is based on his novels, novellas and short stories. However, he was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter. Most of Faulkner's works are set in his native state of Mississippi, and he is considered one of the most important Southern writers, along with Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O'Connor, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams. While his work was published regularly starting in the mid 1920s, Faulkner was relatively unknown before receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is now deemed among the greatest American writers of all time. PLOT SUMMARY
“A Rose for Emily” is divided into five sections.
The first section opens with a description of the Grierson house in Jefferson. The narrator mentions that over the past 25 years, Miss Emily Grierson’s home has fallen into disrepair and become “an eyesore among eyesores.” The first sentence of the story sets the tone of how the citizens of Jefferson felt about Emily: “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to the funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant–a combined gardener and cook–had seen in at least ten years.” It is known around town that Emily Grierson has not had guests in her home for the past decade, except her Negro servant who runs errands for her to and from the market. Her father arranges in his will that she would never have to pay taxes; when a new city council takes over, however, they begin to tax her once again. She refuses to pay the taxes and appear before the sheriff, so the city authorities invite themselves into her house. When confronted on her tax evasion, Emily reminds them that she doesn't have to pay taxes in Jefferson and to speak to Colonel Sartoris, although he had died 10 years before. In section two, the narrator explains that the Griersons had always been a very proud Southern family. Mr. Grierson, Emily’s father, believes no man is suitable for his daughter and doesn't allow her to date. Emily is largely dependent upon her father, and is left foundering when he dies. After Mr. Grierson's death, Emily does not allow the authorities to remove his body for three days, claiming he is still alive. Two years after her father’s death, her lover leaves her, and a strange smell starts emanating from the Grierson house. Section three introduces Emily’s beau, Homer Barron, a foreman from the north. Homer comes to Jefferson with a crew of men to build sidewalks outside the Grierson home. After Emily and Homer are seen driving through town several times, Emily visits a druggist. There, she asks to purchase arsenic. The druggist asks what the arsenic is for since it was required of him to ask by law. Emily does not respond and coldly stares him down until he looks away and gives her the arsenic. When Emily opens the package, underneath the skull and bones sign is written, "For Rats." Citizens of Jefferson believe that Miss Emily is going to commit suicide since Homer has not yet proposed in the beginning of section four. The townspeople contact and invite Emily's two cousins to comfort her. Shortly after their arrival, Homer leaves and then returns after the cousin leave Jefferson. After staying in Jefferson for one night, Homer is never seen again and is believed that he was driven away by Mr. Grierson’s spirit, which they say is “too virulent and too furious to die”. After Homer’s disappearance, Emily begins to age, gain weight, and is rarely seen outside of her home. Soon, Miss Emily passes away. The fifth and final section begins with Jefferson women entering the Grierson home. After they arrive, Emily's Negro servant leaves through the back door...
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