Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily” is told by a resident of Jefferson, Mississippi, a town in which the Grierson family is the closest thing to true aristocracy. To the outside world it might have appeared that Miss Emily Grierson grew up wealthy and happy, however it was a lonely life for her father ruled Emily with an iron fist, turning away every suitor. No man was good enough for his daughter. The first thing Emily did after her father’s death was find a boyfriend named Homer Barron.
She went out driving with Homer, and bought him expensive and personal things like a silver toilet seat and a nightshirt. The towns people assumed she had secretly gotten married because with her father dead, a big social wedding would be in bad taste. Emily became a very stubborn old lady who refused to pay her taxes due to a tale that Colonel Sartoris who was the mayor at the time had told her. According to Sartoris, her father had lent the town some money, and therefore all of her taxes were remitted. Miss Emily would manage to make her self disappear for a certain period of time.
This would cause people to talk because no one would know where she was or what she was doing. When her father had died people called and dropped by the house to give Miss Emily their condolences. She told them that he was not dead and that he was still alive. She refused for her father’s body to be disposed of. The town thought she had gone crazy. They talked a lot of Miss Emily’s servant. They made racial comments about him, and noticed when Miss Emily’s house started giving off some sort of bad odor, and complained to Judge Stevens about the smell.
For a while Emily convinced herself that the townspeople still respected her. When Emily found out Homer was gay, she realized his company would cause her to be pitied and laughed at. This she could not stand. Emily, because of her standing in the town was able to go into the pharmacy, demand arsenic, and refuse an explanation as to what she intended to use it for. When Emily died forty years later, the townspeople found the skeleton of Homer on a bed inside a locked room in the house. Next to his corpse was a lock of Emily’s gray hair on the pillow by Homer’s head.