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"A rose for Emily" is a short story written in five parts and set in the small town of Jefferson, Mississippi. The story is written in the first person perspective using the plural 'we'. It is narrated by the residents of Jefferson town as symbolized by the article 'we'. The first section of the story describes the house owned by the Grierson family. That house which was left to Miss Emily Grierson is described as to have deteriorated in condition each year and consequently became "an eyesore among eyesores" (Faulkner, 1990). The story in its first sentence talks of how the residents of Jefferson town felt about Miss Emily. It mentions that when Miss Emily passed on, the whole town attended her funeral, the men attended it due to the respect and affection they felt for Emily but the women were curiosity seekers who wished to see the inside of Emily's house which no one had seen for almost ten years except for her servant.
According to Faulkner (1990), an engineer by the name of Homer Barron comes to Jefferson town with his crew to build sidewalks. Homer is seen driving around the town several times with Emily whom it is suspected to have fallen for him. Emily later visits a drug store to buy arsenic; she refuses to tell the druggist what the arsenic was for and just stares at him coldly. After this incident, the Jefferson residents' believe that Emily was going to commit suicide due to Homer's failure to propose to her. At the beginning of section four, Homer states his liking of men and implies that he had no intention of getting married. Homer was known to go out drinking in the company of young men but then take a drive with Emily on Sundays. As Emily was fully aware of Homer's behavior, the Jefferson residents contacted her cousins to comfort her one day and that was to be the last day they saw Homer.
The Jefferson women are seen to enter Emily's house at the beginning of section five. Emily's only servant who is black is seen leaving the house through the back door without talking to anybody. Immediately after the funeral, the residents go into Emily's house, they discover a room in the second floor which none of them had ever seen and out of curiosity they break down its door. The room was very dusty although it was decorated to resemble a sought of bridal room and contained wedding clothes that Emily had bought for Homer before he disappeared. Homer's remains were found lying on the bed and an impression of a human head was noticed on the pillow beside the remains where a single strand of gray hair was also seen. This unusual discovery implied that indeed Emily had poisoned Homer and lay with his corpse on that bed until the day of her death (Faulkner, 1990).