A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner is a short story that can interest just about everyone because of the endless possibilities of its interpretation. This masterpiece of horror is very open and flexible. No wonder its unconventional style attracts a lot of attention.
The story opens up with a funeral of Miss Emily Grierson, an old woman who lived in an old house, all by herself. The house used to be one of the best houses in the community, but over the years had become rusty and started falling apart. For more than 10 years, nobody paid Miss Emily a visit except for her servant. The townspeople were prejudiced against her as she did not pay her taxes since 1894. The newer generation did not like this agreement, but when they visited her and tried to persuade her to pay off her debt, she bluntly refused to pay.
It is essential to mention that the narrator represents different generations of the town’s inhabitants. Therefore, the story is told from a disapproving perspective of the townspeople. The story is told in the reversed order, so the next encounter with Emily had happened thirty years before she was asked to pay off her debt. At that time, she had two tragedies in her life – her father died, and her lover had disappeared from her life. However, for some reason, her house reeked; the stink got stronger and stronger. Her neighbors finally filed a complaint, but the authorities were too scared to confront the woman directly. That is why they sprinkled lime over her house and in such way got rid of the smell.
Two years prior to these events, every inhabitant of a town felt compassion towards Emily after the passing of her dad. Although, she showed signs of crazy behavior then, nobody seemed to notice. They just thought it was hard for her to accept her dad’s passing.
Not too long before the death of her father, she started dating a man called Homer Barron. The town did not approve of their relationship and one day Emily was seen buying arsenic at the local drug store. Immediately rumors spread that Emily was going to commit a suicide because Homer was giving her a hard time and they could not get along.
Before that, Emily was seen buying a lot of stuff for a man, and the town started whispering about the possible marriage between Emily and Homer. Homer had left town for a while, then came back and was the last one seen to enter Emily’s house. She rarely left her home herself, only for rare occasions when she was giving painting lessons.
Then the story cycles back to the last years of Emily’s life. She became old; her hair turned gray, and she had died in her bedroom downstairs. After the funeral, the townspeople wandered around the house and found the room that had been closed for over forty years. Inside that room they found a rotting corpse of Homer and on the pillow next to him, they found a long, gray hair.