• born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897
• His family moved to Oxford, Mississippi, just before he was five. Belonged
to a once-wealthy family of former plantation owners.
• He was a high school dropout, but he nevertheless developed a passion
for literature, originally planning to be a poet.
• Faulkner earned fame from a series of novels that explore the South‘s
• Faulkner‘s major works:
The Sound and The Fury (1929)
As I Lay Dying (1930)
Light in August (1931)
• Faulkner‘s writing was particularly interested in exploring the moral
implications of history.
• Those stories he wrote serves as lens through which he could examine
the practices, folkways, and attitudes that had divided and united the
people of the South since the nation‘s inception.
• ―A Rose for Emily‖ was the first short story that Faulkner published in a
• This story‘s chilling portrait of aberrant psychology that draws reader into
dark, dusty world of Emily Rose.
Why ROSE is being used
as a title?
•Faulkner uses rose to symbolize love and secrecy.
•In the story, Homer is the ―rose‖ or love for Emily.
•The rose also represents secrecy.
•The rose stands for Emily‘s secret; that Homer is
her ―rose‖ that she loved and kept to herself
even after his body was decaying
• The story begins in section one with the narrator‘s recollections of Emily‘s
funeral. He reminisces that it is Emily‘s father‘s death that prompts Colonel
Sartoris to remit her taxes ‗‗into perpetuity.‘‘
• This leads to the story of the aldermen attempting to collect taxes from
Emily. The narrator‘s description of Emily is that of a drowned woman: ‗‗She
looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of
that pallid hue.‘‘ One of the reasons the aldermen are bold enough to try
to collect Emily‘s taxes is that Colonel Sartoris has been dead for a
decade. Of course, this doesn‘t discourage Emily—she expects the men to
discuss the matter with him anyway.
• When the narrator returns to the subject of the death of
Emily‘s father, he reveals that Emily at first denies that he is
dead. She keeps his body for three days before she finally
breaks down and allows her father to be buried. This scene
foreshadows the grisly discovery at the end of the story. The
narrator also mentions the madness and death of old lady
Wyatt, Emily‘s great-aunt. Finally, the discovery of a long
strand of iron-gray hair lying on a pillow next to the moldy
corpse entombed in Emily‘s boudoir suggests that Emily is a
necrophiliac (literally, ‗‗one who loves the dead‘‘).
Community vs. Isolation
• The odd relationship between the town of Jefferson and Emily is a
recurrent theme in ‗‗A Rose for Emily.‘‘ At her funeral, the narrator notes
that Emily has been ‗‗a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary
obligation upon the town.‘‘ However, Emily has very little to do with the
townspeople during her life. Her father prevents her from dating anyone
because he doesn‘t believe any of the men in Jefferson are good
enough for her, and after his death, Emily continues to isolate herself from
the rest of the community for the better part of her life. The only notable
exceptions to her isolation are her Sunday rides with Homer Barron, her
shopping trips for arsenic and men‘s clothing, and the china-painting
lessons she gives to the young women of the town for a few years. These
exceptions only serve to show how alienated Emily is from the rest of
• Perverse woman, a tormented continuously by her father.
• After her father died, she said during three days ―he is not dead‖.
This is the time when Miss Emily started the negation of the
change in the world.
• Miss Emily was raised in heart of an aristocratic family. These story
were told after the Civil War. The writer felt influence of the time
and he reflect the pride, the negation to change, to the lost of
established social differences in southern north America.
• Emily is the former aristocratic culture, who were conservative
and closed to the economic, social and racial equality.
• A Yankee construction foreman who becomes Emily‗s first real
love. His relationship with Emily is considered scandalous
because he is a Northerner and because it does not appear as
if they will ever be married.
• The lovers ignore the gossip of the town until Emily‘s two female
cousins from Alabama arrive. Homer leaves town for several
days until the cousins go back to Alabama.
• Homer returns to Jefferson three days after Emily‘s cousins
leave, and he is seen entering her home. He is never seen
• However, what is presumably his corpse is discovered in a
ghastly bridal suite on the top floor of the Grierson house after
• Tobe was the servant of Emily‘s house. He was the only connection of Emily with
the outside world, he goes to the market every day with the shopping cart, but
he decides to keep her with the time stopped in a lie.
• Tobe is an important character. He covers Miss Emily‘s murder and represent the
people of the north, who were freed from slavery through the civil war.
• Tobe disappearances represent the culmination of slavery, and with Miss Emily
the entire ideals of the aristocratic society died.
Old Lady Wyatt
• Old lady Wyatt is Emily Grierson‘s great-aunt. The narrator makes reference to her
as having gone ‗‗completely crazy at last,‘‘ suggesting perhaps that madness
runs in the Grierson family. The narrator also mentions that Emily‘s father had a
falling out with their kin in Alabama over old lady Wyatt‘s estate
• Although there is only a brief description of Emily‘s father in section two of
the story, he plays an important role in the development of her character.
Certainly Emily learns her genteel ways from him. It is his influence that
deprives her of a husband when she is young; the narrator says that the
town pictured Emily and her father 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 backflung front door.‘‘ Emily at first refuses to acknowledge
his death. She doesn‘t allow anyone to remove her father‘s body; finally,
after three days she breaks down and lets someone remove the cadaver.
This foreshadows the town‘s discovery of Homer Barron‘s decomposed
corpse on the top floor in Emily‘s house after her death.
• Colonel Sartoris is the mayor of Jefferson when Emily‘s father dies. He remits Emily‘s taxes
‗‗intoperpetuity‘‘ because he knows that her father was unable to leave her with
anything but the house. Sartoris, being a prototypical southern gentleman, invents a story
involving a loan that Emily‘s father had made to the town in order to spare Emily the
embarrassment of accepting charity. The narrator contrasts this chivalrous act with
another edict made by Sartoris stating that ‗‗no Negro woman should appear on the
streets without an apron.‘‘ Colonel Sartoris appears in other works by Faulkner; he is a
pivotal character in the history of Yoknapatawpha County.
• Judge Stevens is the mayor of Jefferson when the townspeople begin to complain of the
awful odor coming from the Grierson house. Like Colonel Sartoris, he is from a generation
that believes an honorable man does not publicly confront a woman with an
embarrassing situation. He refuses to allow anyone to discuss the smell with her. Instead,
four men sneak onto the Grierson property after midnight and sprinkle lime around the
house to rid the town of the disgusting stench.
• The druggist sells Emily arsenic while her two female cousins from
Alabama are visiting her. Emily just stares at him when he tells her that the
law requires her to tell him why she is buying it. He backs down without an
answer and writes ‗‗for rats‘‘ on the box.
• Emily‘s cousins arrive after receiving a letter from the Baptist minister‘s
wife. Apparently, they visit to discourage Emily‘s relationship with Homer
Barron. Homer leaves while they are in town, and then returns after they
have been gone for three days. The narrator, speaking for many in the
town, hopes that Emily can rid herself of the cousins because they are
‗‗even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been.‖
• The Baptist minister, under pressure from the ladies of the
town, goes to Emily (although she is Episcopal) to discuss
her relationship with Homer Barron. He never tells anyone
what happens, and he refuses to go back together. The
following Sunday, Emily and Homer are seen riding through
the town in the buggy again.
• The minister‘s wife sends a letter to Emily‘s relations in
Alabama after her husband calls upon Emily. The letter
prompts a visit from two of Emily‘s female cousins.
1) Initial Situation(Death and Taxes)
In this initial scene, the people of Emily Grierson‘s town attending to her
funeral and looking inside of her house. Then, it comes to this strange little
story about taxes.
2) Rising action(Taxes aren't the only thing that stinks.)
There was a lot of bizarre stuff about Miss Emily: when her father died she
refused to believe it for four days, the summer after her father died, she
finally gets a boyfriend when she's in her thirties. She worried that her
boyfriend might leave her, so she bought some poison and her boyfriend
disappeared and there was a bad smell around her house. People
complained about the smell and it takes everyone curiosity about her.
3) Conflict(Miss Emily herself)
She kept to herself and was not stable and did not marry. She seemed as
though she was keeping a secret and people in her town wanted to dig
deep to find out what that secret was.
4)Complication (The Town's Conscience)
This part is what complicates things for the town's conscience. The town was
horrible to Miss Emily when she started dating Homer Barron. They wanted
to hold her to the southern lady ideals her forbearers had mapped out for
her. She was finally able to break free when her father died, but the town
won't let her do it. When they can't stop her from dating Homer themselves,
they sick the cousins on her.
4) Climax ("For Rats")
According to Faulkner, Homer probably was a bit of a rat, one which noble Miss Emily
would have felt perfectly in the right to exterminate. Yet, she also wanted to hold tight to
the dream that she might have a normal life, with love and a family. When she sees that
everybody – the townspeople, the minister, her cousins, and even Homer himself – is bent
on messing up her plans, she has an extreme reaction. The climax is encapsulated in the
image of the skull and crossbones on the arsenic package and the warning, "For rats."
5) Suspense (Deadly Gossip)
• Emily buys the arsenic and at that moment the information is beamed into the brains of
the townspeople. The town is in suspense over whether they are married, soon will be, or
never will be. Their reactions range from murderous, to pitying, to downright interference.
Homer Barron was last seen entering the residence of Miss Emily Grierson on the night in
6) Denouement (The Next 40 Years)
• In this part, a rough outline of Emily's life, beginning with her funeral, going
back ten years to when the "newer generation" came to collect the taxes,
and then back another thirty some odd years to the death of Emily's
father, the subsequent affair with Homer, and the disappearance of
Homer. The story winds down by filling on Miss Emily's goings on in the 40
years between Homer's disappearance and Emily's funeral. Other than
the painting lessons, her life during that time is a mystery, because she
7) Conclusion (The Bed, the Rotting Corpse, and the Hair)
• Miss Emily passes away and the townspeople discover one room. They
enter the bedroom that's been locked for 40 years, only to find the rotting
corpse of Homer Barron.
Order Of Sequence
• A rose for Emily begins the story by describing the scene of Emily‘s funeral;
this description, however, is actually a flashback because the story ends
with the narrator‘s memory of the town‘s discovery of the corpse in the
Grierson home after Emily‘s funeral. Throughout the story, the narrator
flashes back and forth through various events in the life and times of Emily
Grierson and the town of Jefferson. Each piece of the story told by the
narrator prompts another piece of the story, regardless of chronology. For
example, the narrator recalls Emily‘s funeral, which leads him to remember
when Colonel Sartoris relieved her of taxes. This of course leads to the story
of the aldermen trying to collect Emily‘s taxes after the death of the
Colonel. The narrative thus works much in the same haphazard manner as
human memory does.
It is the third person of view because the town’s people know all about Emily’s life,
even though she was a very secretive person. If Miss Emily wrote the story, she
would have given more detail and we would have been seeing her world around
her in her own thoughts and we also would have received a much more bitter
story and perhaps we would know the reasons why she did what she did, like for
example, whether or not she killed Homer or if she slept by his body. Maybe she
would be able to justify her actions so that we could understand them. By using
third person we only get a judgmental view where we can only draw conclusions.
If Tobe were to tell the story, the truth might actually come out. He might be able
to tell readers what actually happened without any emotional connection. The
twist is that Emily would have a very innocent and oblivious portrayal rather than
the criticisms like the townspeople.
1) A creepy old house in Jefferson, Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi,
• "A Rose for Emily" is set in the county seat of Yoknapatawpha, Jefferson
and as you know, focuses on Emily Grierson, the last living Grierson.
• The main situations were on miss Emily house and the writer focus in the
valuable details inside the house
•The town is more
than just the setting
in the story, it takes
on its own
•After American Civil War(1861-1865)
•The town of Jefferson as a urban society moving into
•Before seventies, economic based on agriculture and
•After seventies economic based on industrial and
A Rough Timeline
• 1893 – Miss Emily's father dies.
• 1893 – Miss Emily falls ill.
• 1894 – Miss Emily meets Homer Barron (in the summer).
• 1895 – Homer is last seen entering Miss Emily's house
• 1895 – The townspeople become concerned about the smell
of the Grierson house and sprinkle lime around Emily's place.
• 1895 – Miss Emily stays in for six months.
• 1895-1898 – Miss Emily emerges and her hair gradually turns
• 1899 – Miss Emily stops opening her door.
• 1911 – Miss Emily stops giving painting lessons. Over ten years
pass before she has any contact with the town.
• 1925 – They "newer generation" comes to ask about the taxes.
This is the last contact she has with the town before her death.
• 1935 – Miss Emily dies at 74 years old. Tobe leaves the house.
Two days later the funeral is held at the Grierson house. At the
funeral, the townspeople break down the door to the bridal
chamber/crypt, which no one has seen in 40 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
neighbourhood; only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its
stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton
wagons and the gasoline pumps--an eyesore among
They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim
hall from which a stairway mounted are still more
shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse- a close,
dank small. 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 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.