A Rose for Emily (Faulkner)

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A Rose for Emily
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A woman from a once-prominent family became increasingly isolated after her father's death. She had a relationship with an outsider, who later disappeared. After her death, his decomposed body was found in her home.

Miss Emily Grierson was a woman who lived in a small Southern town. She was the last remaining member of a once-prominent family, and her life was marked by isolation and eccentricity. The townspeople, who narrate the story, followed her life closely and speculated about her actions and motivations.

Miss Emily Grierson — protagonist; a woman in her 70s; isolated and eccentric; her father's death and relationship with Homer Barron shape her life; small, fat, with a bloated face and iron-gray hair; stubborn, proud, and mysterious.

Emily's father was a controlling figure who drove away any potential suitors for his daughter. After his death, Emily refused to accept his passing and kept his body in the house for three days before finally allowing it to be buried. This event marked the beginning of her increasing isolation from the community.

A few years later, a man named Homer Barron arrived in town to work on a construction project. He was a Yankee, which made him an outsider in the Southern community, but he quickly became popular due to his sociable nature.

Homer Barron — a Yankee construction foreman; big, dark, and ready man with a big voice and light eyes; has a relationship with Miss Emily; not a marrying man; sociable and well-liked by the townspeople.

Emily and Homer began a relationship, and the townspeople initially believed that they would marry. However, it soon became clear that Homer was not interested in settling down, and the townspeople began to pity Emily for her unrequited love.

Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town.

As Emily's relationship with Homer continued, her behavior became more and more eccentric. She purchased arsenic from the local druggist, leading the townspeople to believe that she planned to kill herself. However, Homer disappeared shortly after, and Emily's front door remained closed for the rest of her life.

Emily eventually died at the age of seventy-four, and the townspeople attended her funeral out of a sense of duty and curiosity. After her death, they discovered a locked room in her house that had not been opened for forty years. Inside, they found the decomposed body of Homer Barron, lying in a bed with a strand of Emily's iron-gray hair on the pillow beside him.

Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head... we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.

The discovery of Homer's body confirmed the townspeople's suspicions about Emily's involvement in his disappearance. It also revealed the depths of her isolation and the lengths she was willing to go to maintain control over her life. The story of Emily Grierson serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of isolation and the consequences of refusing to accept change and loss.