A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

This is the text to the story:

WHEN Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her 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 man-servant–a combined gardener and cook–had seen in at least ten years.

It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores. And now Miss Emily had gone to join the representatives of those august names where they lay in the cedar-bemused cemetery among the ranked and anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson.

Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor–he who fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron-remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. Not that Miss Emily would have accepted charity. Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily’s father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying. Only a man of Colonel Sartoris’ generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it.

When the next generation, with its more modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen, this arrangement created some little dissatisfaction. On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. February came, and there was no reply. They wrote her a formal letter, asking her to call at the sheriff’s office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. The tax notice was also enclosed, without comment.

They called a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen. A deputation waited upon her, knocked at the door through which no visitor had passed since she ceased giving china-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier. They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse–a close, dank smell. The Negro led them into the parlor. It was furnished in heavy, leather-covered furniture. When the Negro opened the blinds of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked; and when they sat down, a faint dust rose sluggishly about their thighs, spinning with slow motes in the single sun-ray. On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily’s father.

They rose when she entered–a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand.

She did not ask them to sit. She just stood in the door and listened quietly until the spokesman came to a stumbling halt. Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain.

Her voice was dry and cold. “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves.”

“But we have. We are the city authorities, Miss Emily. Didn’t you get a notice from the sheriff, signed by him?”

“I received a paper, yes,” Miss Emily said. “Perhaps he considers himself the sheriff . . . I have no taxes in Jefferson.”

“But there is nothing on the books to show that, you see We must go by the–”

“See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson.”

“But, Miss Emily–”

“See Colonel Sartoris.” (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Tobe!” The Negro appeared. “Show these gentlemen out.”

II

So SHE vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell.

That was two years after her father’s death and a short time after her sweetheart–the one we believed would marry her –had deserted her. After her father’s death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all. A few of the ladies had the temerity to call, but were not received, and the only sign of life about the place was the Negro man–a young man then–going in and out with a market basket.

“Just as if a man–any man–could keep a kitchen properly, “the ladies said; so they were not surprised when the smell developed. It was another link between the gross, teeming world and the high and mighty Griersons.

A neighbor, a woman, complained to the mayor, Judge Stevens, eighty years old.

“But what will you have me do about it, madam?” he said.

“Why, send her word to stop it,” the woman said. “Isn’t there a law? ”

“I’m sure that won’t be necessary,” Judge Stevens said. “It’s probably just a snake or a rat that nigger of hers killed in the yard. I’ll speak to him about it.”

The next day he received two more complaints, one from a man who came in diffident deprecation. “We really must do something about it, Judge. I’d be the last one in the world to bother Miss Emily, but we’ve got to do something.” That night the Board of Aldermen met–three graybeards and one younger man, a member of the rising generation.

“It’s simple enough,” he said. “Send her word to have her place cleaned up. Give her a certain time to do it in, and if she don’t. ..”

“Dammit, sir,” Judge Stevens said, “will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?”

So the next night, after midnight, four men crossed Miss Emily’s lawn and slunk about the house like burglars, sniffing along the base of the brickwork and at the cellar openings while one of them performed a regular sowing motion with his hand out of a sack slung from his shoulder. They broke open the cellar door and sprinkled lime there, and in all the outbuildings. As they recrossed the lawn, a window that had been dark was lighted and Miss Emily sat in it, the light behind her, and her upright torso motionless as that of an idol. They crept quietly across the lawn and into the shadow of the locusts that lined the street. After a week or two the smell went away.

That was when people had begun to feel really sorry for her. People in our town, remembering how old lady Wyatt, her great-aunt, had gone completely crazy at last, believed that the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were. None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door. So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated; even with insanity in the family she wouldn’t have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.

When her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her; and in a way, people were glad. At last they could pity Miss Emily. Being left alone, and a pauper, she had become humanized. Now she too would know the old thrill and the old despair of a penny more or less.

The day after his death all the ladies prepared to call at the house and offer condolence and aid, as is our custom Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body. Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly.

We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.

III

SHE WAS SICK for a long time. When we saw her again, her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows–sort of tragic and serene.

The town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks, and in the summer after her father’s death they began the work. The construction company came with riggers and mules and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee–a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss the riggers, and the riggers singing in time to the rise and fall of picks. Pretty soon he knew everybody in town. Whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group. Presently we began to see him and Miss Emily on Sunday afternoons driving in the yellow-wheeled buggy and the matched team of bays from the livery stable.

At first we were glad that Miss Emily would have an interest, because the ladies all said, “Of course a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer.” But there were still others, older people, who said that even grief could not cause a real lady to forget noblesse oblige- –
without calling it noblesse oblige. They just said, “Poor Emily. Her kinsfolk should come to her.” She had some kin in Alabama; but years ago her father had fallen out with them over the estate of old lady Wyatt, the crazy woman, and there was no communication between the two families. They had not even been represented at the funeral.

And as soon as the old people said, “Poor Emily,” the whispering began. “Do you suppose it’s really so?” they said to one another. “Of course it is. What else could . . .” This behind their hands; rustling of craned silk and satin behind jalousies closed upon the sun of Sunday afternoon as the thin, swift clop-clop-clop of the matched team passed: “Poor Emily.”

She carried her head high enough–even when we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson; as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness to reaffirm her imperviousness. Like when she bought the rat poison, the arsenic. That was over a year after they had begun to say “Poor Emily,” and while the two female cousins were visiting her.

“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 eyesockets 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. The Negro delivery boy brought her the package; the druggist didn’t come back. When she opened the package at home there was written on the box, under the skull and bones: “For rats.”

IV

So THE NEXT day we all said, “She will kill herself”; and we said it would be the best thing. When she had first begun to be seen with Homer Barron, we had said, “She will marry him.” Then we said, “She will persuade him yet,” because Homer himself had remarked–he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks’ Club–that he was not a marrying man. Later we said, “Poor Emily” behind the jalousies as they passed on Sunday afternoon in the glittering buggy, Miss Emily with her head high and Homer Barron with his hat cocked and a cigar in his teeth, reins and whip in a yellow glove.

Then some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people. The men did not want to interfere, but at last the ladies forced the Baptist minister–Miss Emily’s people were Episcopal– to call upon her. He would never divulge what happened during that interview, but he refused to go back again. The next Sunday they again drove about the streets, and the following day the minister’s wife wrote to Miss Emily’s relations in Alabama.

So she had blood-kin under her roof again and we sat back to watch developments. At first nothing happened. Then we were sure that they were to be married. We learned that Miss Emily had been to the jeweler’s and ordered a man’s toilet set in silver, with the letters H. B. on each piece. Two days later we learned that she had bought a complete outfit of men’s clothing, including a nightshirt, and we said, “They are married.” We were really glad. We were glad because the two female cousins were even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been.

So we were not surprised when Homer Barron–the streets had been finished some time since–was gone. We were a little disappointed that there was not a public blowing-off, but we believed that he had gone on to prepare for Miss Emily’s coming, or to give her a chance to get rid of the cousins. (By that time it was a cabal, and we were all Miss Emily’s allies to help circumvent the cousins.) Sure enough, after another week they departed. And, as we had expected all along, within three days Homer Barron was back in town. A neighbor saw the Negro man admit him at the kitchen door at dusk one evening.

And that was the last we saw of Homer Barron. And of Miss Emily for some time. The Negro man went in and out with the market basket, but the front door remained closed. Now and then we would see her at a window for a moment, as the men did that night when they sprinkled the lime, but for almost six months she did not appear on the streets. Then we knew that this was to be expected too; as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman’s life so many times had been too virulent and too furious to die.

When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray. During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt iron-gray, when it ceased turning. Up to the day of her death at seventy-four it was still that vigorous iron-gray, like the hair of an active man.

From that time on her front door remained closed, save for a period of six or seven years, when she was about forty, during which she gave lessons in china-painting. She fitted up a studio in one of the downstairs rooms, where the daughters and granddaughters of Colonel Sartoris’ contemporaries were sent to her with the same regularity and in the same spirit that they were sent to church on Sundays with a twenty-five-cent piece for the collection plate. Meanwhile her taxes had been remitted.

Then the newer generation became the backbone and the spirit of the town, and the painting pupils grew up and fell away and did not send their children to her with boxes of color and tedious brushes and pictures cut from the ladies’ magazines. The front door closed upon the last one and remained closed for good. When the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them.

Daily, monthly, yearly we watched the Negro grow grayer and more stooped, going in and out with the market basket. Each December we sent her a tax notice, which would be returned by the post office a week later, unclaimed. Now and then we would see her in one of the downstairs windows–she had evidently shut up the top floor of the house–like the carven torso of an idol in a niche, looking or not looking at us, we could never tell which. Thus she passed from generation to generation–dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.

And so she died. Fell ill in the house filled with dust and shadows, with only a doddering Negro man to wait on her. We did not even know she was sick; we had long since given up trying to get any information from the Negro

He talked to no one, probably not even to her, for his voice had grown harsh and rusty, as if from disuse.

She died in one of the downstairs rooms, in a heavy walnut bed with a curtain, her gray head propped on a pillow yellow and moldy with age and lack of sunlight.

V

THE NEGRO met the first of the ladies at the front door and let them in, with their hushed, sibilant voices and their quick, curious glances, and then he disappeared. He walked right through the house and out the back and was not seen again.

The two female cousins came at once. They held the funeral on the second day, with the town coming to look at Miss Emily beneath a mass of bought flowers, with the crayon face of her father musing profoundly above the bier and the ladies sibilant and macabre; and the very old men –some in their brushed Confederate uniforms–on the porch and the lawn, talking of Miss Emily as if she had been a contemporary of theirs, believing that they had danced with her and courted her perhaps, confusing time with its mathematical progression, as the old do, to whom all the past is not a diminishing road but, instead, a huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches, divided from them now by the narrow bottle-neck of the most recent decade of years.

Already we knew that there was one room in that region above stairs which no one had seen in forty years, and which would have to be forced. They waited until Miss Emily was decently in the ground before they opened it.

The violence of breaking down the door seemed to fill this room with pervading dust. A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room decked and furnished as for a bridal: upon the valance curtains of faded rose color, upon the rose-shaded lights, upon the dressing table, upon the delicate array of crystal and the man’s toilet things backed with tarnished silver, silver so tarnished that the monogram was obscured. Among them lay a collar and tie, as if they had just been removed, which, lifted, left upon the surface a pale crescent in the dust. Upon a chair hung the suit, carefully folded; beneath it the two mute shoes and the discarded socks.

The man himself lay in the bed.

For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin. The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him. What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay; and upon him and upon the pillow beside him lay that even coating of the patient and biding dust.

Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.


A Rose for Emily Theme of Versions of Reality

By showing people with skewed versions of reality, “A Rose for Emily” asks us to take off our “rose-colored” glasses and look reality in the face. What we confront is the reality of America in the story, and the reality of the main character’s complete isolation. Faulkner reveals how difficult it can be to see the past and the present clearly and honestly by depicting memory as flawed and subjective. This “difficulty” is part of why the main characters goes insane, or so it certainly appears. Luckily, there are healthy doses of compassion and forgiveness in the novel. When we start to feel that, we start to see things more clearly.

Questions About Versions of Reality

  1. Is Miss Emily insane or vengeful and mean? A little of both?
  2. Emily can seem both very strong and very weak. How, if at all, do these two approaches to life impact her reality?
  3. Is it important to the story that Miss Emily’s great-aunt, old lady Wyatt, is considered insane by the townspeople? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think Tobe has a clear view of reality? Is he insane for living in a house with a dead body, and protecting Miss Emily by not telling the authorities? If he’s not insane, what might motivate him to act this way?
  5. Do the different generations of Jefferson society presented have different versions of the reality of Miss Emily? If so, what are some of these versions?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

“A Rose for Emily” shows how the unrealistic expectations placed on southern women in past eras were detrimental.

This story shows how much things have changed since Miss Emily’s time, how different our reality is from that of the characters in the story.

The Theme notes can be found on the internet–citation is as follows:

MLA Style

Works Cited:

Shmoop Editorial Team. “A Rose for Emily Themes” Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 7 Jan. 2012.

In-text Citation

(Shmoop Editorial Team)

48 responses to “A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

  1. “A Rose for Emily” is a story about the extremes of physical and emotional isolation. This short story shows us how an individual becomes isolated by their family, community, and their own choices. It also takes a stand against isolation and those who isolate others.

  2. The story begins by describing the funeral of Emily and then jumps into the past of Emily. Her past was very gruesome because it was filled with death of the only people she cared bout. Emily did not handle these deaths very well and this could have been the reason for the insanity. She went to the extreme of perserving the bodies of her loved ones to keep her company. When her father passed away she kept refusing and saying he had not died. Change can very difficult for people, but they have to understand that moving on is the right choice.

  3. this is a good short story, I love the way Faulkner did this story. he addresses the need for education on people with mental illnesses. he shows this by showing how ill people are treated and thought of by society.

  4. I like how this story is different from others. We are all use to a happy ending but everyone is not use to twisted stories even though those are the most interesting. At least no one can say they deal with death easily because no matter how many people have died, death never gets easier and I think that was the hardest part for this character. She was upset about her dad and her lover that she kept living in that moment and didn’t want to move on from it. That is always the hardest step. Also, this story gives the readers signs or ideas about the mentally ill and that they can be helped but if no one cares they won’t care either.

  5. I have read this A Rose for Emily several times now and William Faulkner is a genius. He successfully manipulates the reader into feeling compassionate for a character that murdered a person and slept with their corpse. The facts sound like something straight from a horror movie. I bet the Grierson’s house would be ideal for a haunted house. The reason why Faulkner is capable of manipulating the reader is by his rerrangement of events. He first starts with Emily’s funeral and then jumps around time and talks about the story behind Emily Grierson. The townspeople are the voice in this story and it serves well as they themselves feel sorry for this proud southern woman. In the end of this story Faulkner then at the end reveals a shocking fact. The manner in which this is presented makes the reader feel sympathy for this character.

  6. Miss Emily cut herself off from the world for years upon years with only one person to talk to who was her servant. Miss Emily did not leave the house and she did not have people over so I believe she went insane. we as people are social creatures and we have to interact with other people because if we do not we can obtain mental illnesses that are not healthy for us. This Short Story is a great example of what could happen if you do not interact with people.

  7. Emily’s life is plagued by death and isolation from everybody which is the reason I believe she developed mental issues. It was very hard to understand the short story because of its time shifting throughout the story. However, I believe the theme to this story is that change will overcome tradition which Emily desperately tried to cling to.

  8. Its very clear that Emily had mental issues
    I’m sure being surrounded by death did not help the matter
    To me it seemed as though she desperately wanted to be loved
    However the outside world was not so accepting of her so she chose to isolate herself from the rest of the world
    This is a very touching story
    Emily herself is symbolizes a rose.
    Roses are delicate and easily ruined if not handled with care; they use their thorns as armor to protect them from being hurt.
    So many people only saw the shadow of the rose(Emily) and not the reality of how beautiful it truly was.

  9. Faulkner provides a creative story from the past in how Mentally ill people were treated. Emily’s character was a prime example in how the community from that era needed to be educated in how to care for mental issues.

  10. Ms. Emily sounds very depressed. One of the obvious signs of depression is not keeping up with one’s self or even their home. And with society today, people will go from unnoticed, to noticed when there is money involved in any way, such as (her taxes) on her home. Ms. Emily is very clear about suicide and leaving this place we call earth, but the hard reality of this is, she has some very (ignorant people) in her circle. These people have no business getting any kind of poison for her. Her cry is very loud and clear, and my opinion is that she needs to be given personal attention to her life and to her home. The message that I got from this is that, people will be people unnoticed until local government or close neighbors needs something from you.

  11. It’s a subject not too many people are aware about until recent. No one really knows what’s going on within a persons head. There can be many cause of mental illness. But, many conditions are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. And that’s shows within the story of A Rose for Emily

  12. It’s a sad love story to me. Miss Emily seems to be a person who has been having fear over losing her loved ones, alive or dead. First, her father passed away and she hardly cope with the aftermath. Then, she seems to have difficulty in dealing with the fact that Mr. Barron is leaving the town. She decides to go to the extreme and tries the unthinkable: using poison to preserve her love!

  13. Reminds me of something that O’Henry would write. I suppose the ambiguity of what Homer may have done to her as well as her killing him served as poetic justice. I’d like to go in to Emily’s mind and see her justifications and reasoning. I bet there is a story there!

  14. The shorty story “A Rose for Emily” is a disturbing story. To know that an older lady can get away with not paying taxes and buying “the best poison” without following proper regulation of the law all because no one wants to offend her. I get that she is an older lady and her way of doing things in her time were very different than the new forms of laws that were being made, but she does need to get with the program. In our day and age if anyone tries to do as she did she would have been fined or jailed. There is no if’s and’s or but’s about it. Nothing is higher than the current law not matter what things use to be.

  15. I suppose this story is meant to be about Miss Emily. The readers are meant to analyze her life and find a theme, such as “refusing to accept change can only result in despair.” However, I think the narrator has issues too, as does most of the town. The townspeople seem obsessed with Miss Emily. They view her like a soap opera. Humans are curious creatures, I guess. It may be that Faulkner did not intend for the town to come across as obsessed with someone else’s life. I think the main reason I have that viewpoint is due to the current era. The era of reality shows. Interpretations will undoubtedly differ throughout generations and cultures.

  16. This is a weird story! A crazy lady keeping died body’s in her house she defiantly has some issues. All the clues were presented throughout the story she killed homer because of the rat poison she bought, Also he house smelling because there’s a rotting body in it. The ending is the best part of the story Homer’s body was in her room and on the other side of the bed laying on the pillow was iron-gray. The hair obviously form Emily which means she was laying next to the body. Emily could have a case of necrophilia.

  17. The story “A Rose for Emily” was very disturbing. It’s unreal how the towns people found her body in a bedroom downstairs that didn’t seen sunlight for 40 years. I can only imagine the odors and stank that filled throughout the whole house when both of the bodies were found in the house; including Emily’s and her formal lover Homer. I think she was very depressed that her father died, but he didn’t give her money but he did leave her the house. And I think she was depressed and latched out on her new lover, Homer and killed him because he would be out of town for work, so Emily probably couldn’t handle living on her own.

  18. This was a really disturbing story indeed. At first it seemed innocent and a little interesting, but then once the story develops, the craziness comes out. I suspected that something was odd about the man not being seen leaving town and never coming back; however, I did not expect it to be that disturbing.

  19. This story was very interesting. In a way I feel bad for Emily because she had a morbid death, but at the same time I feel that she brought that upon herself. This story has a very important life lesson. We have to be humble people because material things do not last forever. If we focus to much on the material things we fail to form meaningful relationships with those around us.

  20. After reading this story, it is clear that Emily has some mental issues. She revolved her life so much around her father and her boyfriend that she did not know how to live after they died. Maybe in her mind, no matter how much you love someone it will not be good enough and they all leave, which is maybe why she killed her current companion at the end. It shows the readers to face consequences, if you find a way around them then ultimately the price of the consequence will only go deeper.

  21. The main character Emily is deeply traumatized due to the death of her father and her boyfriend. Her mental illness causes her resistance to accept new experience. Thus, she is socially isolated without any hope of improvement. Knowing this Emily does not want adapt to a new life. She suspect of suffering from necrophilia because she keeps her dead husband in her bad. This story gave me the chills just to imagine that there are people like Emily. Emily was unwilling to forget, forgive or to even live.

  22. After finding out what happened at the end i kind of wonder if she did something similar with her fathers body. She keep the body so no one see it for three days while she pretended he wasn’t dead. I don’t think that it was anything to the extent of what she had done to Homer Barron but she obviously has a hard time letting go of the men she loved.

  23. After finding out what happened at the end i kind of wonder if she did something similar with her fathers body. She keep the body so no one keep it for three days while she pretended he wasn’t dead. I know thing that it was anything to the extent of what she had done to Homer Barron but she obviously has a hard time letting go of the men she loved.

  24. Emily clearly has abandonment issues. After her father’s death and her first boyfriend left her, she couldn’t stand to lose another man in her life, so she kills her current companion. I also suspect that Emily has a strong resistance to change. This is marked by the fact that she refuses to put a mailbox on her property. I think that she just wants to cling on to the past for as long as she can.

  25. It’s interesting how growing up as child, we are shaped and molded by what we experience around us. It goes to show how important it is for parents to be there for their children. The fact that Emily was deprived of certain rights and she was not able to see men only peaked her curiosity and even made her very attached. This story reminds us all of the mental illness that some people are unfortunately placed with.

  26. Emily Rose is one of the few interesting characters I’ve read on that surprised me. Her character is something that’s confusing to understand but the intention of her actions define the meaning of the story. Her mental illness socially isolated her and symbolizes the oppression mental patients were put through during this time era.

  27. This was a really interesting read. Goes to show that you never know what is happening behind closed doors. Miss Emily was obviously mentally ill. She murdered Homer and kept his body, slept with the dead body. I think that this is a great example on just how important mental health is. Too many people are unaware that it’s one of the leading causes of disability.

  28. I had a hard time understanding this short story at the beginning, as i read along i realized that Emily was going through some sort of depression/traumatic situation. I would understand why, her father seemed very controlling , and isolated her from everyone especially from men. It seemed like all Emily wanted was to find a husband or lover but she never had the chance too. I believe that is the cause of her mental illness and behavior.

  29. I view this short story as the tendency to resist change. Emily is unwilling to adapt to her new surroundings, stuck in the ways of the past. Mental illness may be the cause for this resistance, in addition to mal adaptability it is also insinuated that she killed her husband and had necrophiliac tendencies with him, because she kept the body in her bed. I believe there was a overall sense of horror as the town shone light on her behaviors.

  30. I remember reading A Rose For Emily back in high school and actually completely forgot about it until now. As I was reading i felt that it was familiar so as soon as I heard the part about the city not making her pay taxes I knew the story. The story is actually really creepy and kind of a lot to take in. It’s clear she has a lot of affection toward her dad and didn’t want to accept his death so when she found this new man she never wanted him to leave, but of course he was a homosexual and didn’t love her back so she killed him and slept with him till the day she died. It’s really gross just thought of it and really twisted. The fact that they found the three hairs on the pillow gives me the chills every time.

  31. People are always ready to critize, but that doesn’t mean they are correct until they find the truth for themselves. I believe Mrs. Emily did not take Homer’s rejection well and made her own decision. This was a mentally sick individual.

  32. Its obvious that William Faulkner is a little odd. His fictional story on the life of Emily Grierson is extremely disturbing. He leads the audience towards the idea that Emily might have killed her father which caused the awful stench that was coming from her home. Faulkner also made Emily seem really dismissive and depressed which could have also made her kill her future husband homer, and close off her home to any stranger. but basically I think Faulkner is a little disturbed himself.

  33. I admire Falukner writing style he had my mind wondering about throughout the story as you can never get a real feel of what’s really going on until he brings all the signs together. I like how he used the past and then tied it to the future to all make sense. Emily is insane, however i only believe this is a result of her fathers attitude a guidance of scaring off men in the past and led her to become more anxious then anything else.

  34. There are many mysteries in this story. First her father died and she leaves the man she was supposed to marry, then she covers up the rotten scent coming from the house with limes, buys arsenic without a reason, and her hair is found beside Homer’s head in an indentation of a pillow. She definitely seems insane, some things don’t add up.

  35. I admire Emily Rose for what she did. If everyone were more like her the world would be a much better place. I try to be like her everyday and do my part to make this a better world.

    • We should all be mentally ill and kill people and leave them to rot in our houses? Emily’s story is the tragedy of an isolated and mentally ill woman.
      I found the towns people’s waxing and waning compassion interesting. They felt no pity for Emily until she was penniless, as if all her isolation and pain was justified as long as she had money.

  36. I think miss Emily was really insane. I think that she killed Barron with that arsenic that she bought. The smell that everyone was smelling was probably coming from the dead body. Wherever she went that smell lurked behind her. The people must have been surprised to see his body laying on that bed.

  37. The story is a southern horror story. The clues are all there that Emily murder Homer Barron. For instance, the rat poison Emily brought from druggist and the dead body that was tide up in her bed.

  38. Everyone no matter what their situation needs help sometimes. While reading this and seeing how there are people who are willing to put themselves out there to help was really cool.

  39. If everyone were like Emily Rose helping people this world will be the greatest place ever.

  40. This gives me a warm feeling that Emily rose was the voice for those who were sick. It switches back and forth to how the illness was devastating but yet calling from anywhere to help and people offered themselves. Knowing that there’s people out there to help makes me want to join them.

  41. This is such a well written story, and i agree it really focus on how people with mental illnes were persived, when most pople weren’t too eduacated on the subject.

  42. For me I seen so much of southern equitette and the way of life in the south. This story also showed how older generations thought and the assumptions that were attached to some stigmas. It was truly sad how she die alone. It goes to show that you never really know what is going on behind closed doors.

  43. It is neat seeing how people will support others in times of need.

  44. It was difficult to understand this short story I had to reader it twice, so it demonstrates the excellent skills of the writer. For instance, the story sifts back and forwards in time. In essence, the sifting of the time infers the main theme of the story which is resistance to change.

  45. shows how things were back then with no awareness and with this person having this illness and everyone coming out and supporting showed the concern most people had for her.

  46. “A Rose for Emily” addresses the need for more education on mental illnesses. Faulkner reflects this by showing how the mentally ill were treated and perceived by society. He uses Emily to demonstrate what can happen if better care is not provided for the mentally ill. The point that Faulkner makes can best be described with a statement made by George Washington Goethal: “Knowledge of our duties is the most essential part of the philosophy of life. If you escape duty you avoid action. The world demands results.”

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