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A Rose for Emily
By William Faulkner (1897-1962)
A Study Guide
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Type of Work
Publication Information
Title Information
Setting
Characters
Point of View
Structure
Plot Summary
Gothic Overtones
Climax
Themes
Unanswered Question
Conflicts
Symbols
Figures of Speech
Was Barron a Homosexual?
Study Questions
Essay Topics
Faulkner Biography
Complete Free Text
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Notes and Plot Summary by Michael J. Cummings... 2010

Type of Work

......."A Rose for Emily" is a short story of Gothic horror and tragedy. It presents a portrait of a lonely Mississippi woman who succumbs to mental illness while living reclusively according to the outmoded traditions of Old South aristocrats. 
.......Gothic horror is a genre of fiction presenting dark, mysterious, terrifying events that take place in a gloomy or ghostly setting. The genre derives its name from the Gothic architectural style in Europe between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. Gothic structures such as cathedrals and castles featured cavernous interiors with deep shadows, gargoyles looming on exterior ledges, and soaring spires suggestive of a supernatural presence. When a Gothic horror story takes place in the American South and centers in part on Southern cultural traditions and character types, as well as on a realistic rather than romantic account of events, scholars often characterize the story as Southern Gothic. 
.......Tragedy is a fictional genre about the downfall or ruination of the main character. In this genre, the sympathies of the narrator, reader, orin the case of a playthe audience often lie with the main character even when he or she has committed an unspeakable crime or sin. Such is the case in "A Rose for Emily."

Publication Information

.......The story was first published in the April 30, 1930, issue of Forum magazine and was published again in 1931 in These Thirteen, a collection of Faulkner stories.

Title: Emily and the Rose

.......The title character is a tragic figure. Manipulated by her father and unable to function in the modern world, she lives as a recluse most of the time and eventually goes insane. In an attempt to hold on to a man who becomes her companion but later decides to abandon her, she murders him and keeps his corpse in an upper room of her house. In a lecture at Nagano, Japan, author William Faulkner said of Emily: "Here here was a woman who had had a tragedy, an irrevocable tragedy and nothing could be done about it, and I pitied her and this [the story] was a salute . . . to a woman you would hand a rose" (Jeliffe 70-71).

Work Cited

Jelliffe, Robert, ed. Faulkner at Nagano. Tokyo: Kenkyusha, 1956.
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Setting

.......William Faulkner set a “A Rose for Emily” in the fictional Mississippi town of Jefferson, modeled after the real Mississippi town of Oxford, where the author spent most of his life. Events in the story take place in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. 

Characters

Emily Grierson: Main character, who is dead. Her story unfolds in flashbacks. Emily was born during the Civil War as an only child and died in the 1930s. When her father reared her with Old South values, he prevented young men from courting her, apparently in the belief that they were not good enough for her (or possibly because he had an unnatural relationship with her). 
Mr. Grierson: Emily's father.
Tobe: Emily's black servant.
Colonel Sartoris: One-time mayor of Jefferson. He grants tax forgiveness to Emily, saying the city is indebted to her family.
Young Alderman: Man who wants to collect taxes from Emily.
Judge Stevens: Elderly alderman and one-time mayor. He is wary about collecting taxes from Emily.
Two Other Elderly Aldermen
Old Lady Wyatt: Emily's great-aunt, who went insane. 
Homer Barron: Foreman of a construction crew installing sidewalks in Jefferson. He takes Emily for buggy rides.
Baptist Minister: Clergyman who calls upon Emily to tell her that her relationship with Homer Barron is setting a bad example.
Minister's Wife: Woman who writes to Emily's relatives to complain about Emily's behavior.
Emily's Alabama Cousins: Visitors who apparently advise Emily on what to do about Homer Barron. 
Druggist: Man who sells arsenic to Emily. 
Delivery Boy: Youth who delivers the arsenic.
Laborers: Men who dig the pathway for the new sidewalk.
Narrator: Jefferson resident who tells Emily's story. 
Mayors Who Succeed Colonel Sartoris
Various City Officials
Jefferson Residents
Civil War Veterans

Point of View

.......The townspeople tell the story in first-person point of view. Here is an example of the narrator's first-person commentary: 

We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.
Structure and Story Overview

.......Faulkner divides the story into five short sections. The first section reports the funeral and burial of Emily and provides background on her house, her servant, and her tax status. The second section focuses on a foul smell coming from her house, the use of lime by city officials to neutralize it, the insanity that runs in Emily's family, her father's refusal to allow young men to call on her, and the death and burial of her father. The third section introduces a Northerner, Homer Barron, who comes to town with a construction crew and takes Emily for buggy rides. It also reports that Emily buys arsenic at the local drugstore. The fourth section tells of the townspeople's belief that Emily is setting a bad example by regularly keeping company with Homer Barron. It also tells of the disappearance of Barron, the years when Emily teaches china painting, and the death of Emily. The fifth section reports the happenings at Emily's funeral and a grotesque discovery in an upper room of the house.

Plot Summary
By Michael J. Cummings... 2010

.......The time is the 1930s. The place is Jefferson, Mississippi. After a reclusive resident, Emily Grierson, dies at the age of seventy-four, Jeffersonians turn out in great numbers for the funeral—the men to pay homage to a "fallen monument," the narrator says, and the women mainly to view the inside of her house. The only one who had seen the interior over the decade or so before her death was her servant, Tobe, an old black man who did the cooking, gardening, and marketing.
.......The house, built in the 1870s, is an elegant edifice, with cupolas and balconies; but it had decayed considerably after garages and cotton gins sprang up to replace the other homes in Miss Grierson's neighborhood. 
.......Townsfolk remember Emily as a woman who did not pay local taxes. Back in 1894, Colonel Sartoris—the mayor—exempted her from paying taxes after he concocted a story that said her father had once lent money to the town. Many years later, other mayors tried to collect from her, but she always sent their tax bills back. One day, city officials went to her home to collect. After her servant showed them into the parlor, where they raised dust from the old furniture when they sat down, Miss Emily—a fat woman with a small frame who leaned on a cane—appeared and said, “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me.” Her visitors tell her that no records exist that excuse her from taxes.
.......“See Colonel Sartoris,” she replied. “I have no taxes in Jefferson.” (Colonel Sartoris had been dead for ten years.)
.......She then directed Tobe to show them to the door. 
.......“So she vanquished them, horse and foot,” the narrator says, “just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell. That was two years after her father's death and a short time after her sweetheart—the one we believe would marry her—had deserted her.”
.......After these events, she rarely left her house. Tobe did the marketing for her. When a neighbor woman complained about the smell, the eighty-year-old mayor, Judge Stevens, told the woman it was probably just a dead rat or snake. Two more people complained the following day. In the evening, the Board of Aldermen convened. One member, a young man, told the three elderly members that the board should tell her to “clean up the place” in a specified amount of time. Judge Stevens expressed his opposition to the idea. So, rather than issuing an order, the men went to her property at midnight the next day and, after sniffing around, broke into the cellar and sprinkled lime there, then sprinkled some in the outbuildings. Within a few weeks, the smell was gone. 
.......That was right about the time when people began to pity Emily even though they believed the Griersons had always thought themselves better than others. Emily's father had even driven off all of Emily's suitors, presumably because he thought they were not good enough for her.
.......“So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated,” the narrator says; “even with insanity in the family she wouldn't have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.” (Emily's great-aunt, old lady Wyatt, had gone insane.)
.......After her father died, Emily inherited the house, but that was all. Consequently, she had no money to speak of. Her lack of means made her seem quite ordinary to her neighbors. That was all right by the them, for now they could begin showing compassion toward her. When townspeople called on her to offer condolences, she told them her father was not dead. Ministers and doctors visited to her to persuade her to give up the body. After three days, she relented, and her father was buried.
.......At that time, people did not regard her as demented; they simply thought she wanted to hang on to her father. He was her only company. After his burial, she was ill for a long time. When she recovered and people saw her again, she had short hair, making her look much younger.
.......One summer, a construction crew began installing new sidewalks for the city. The foreman was a Northerner, Homer Barron, who became famous in town for his big laugh and for cursing the black men wielding picks. After a time, people began seeing him riding about with Miss Emily on Sunday afternoons in a buggy with a team of bays. Was she serious about him? Or was she just being nice to an out-of-towner of inferior social status? Folks weren't sure. But they felt sorry for her as the last of the Griersons.
.......However, women eventually began to think her relationship with Barron was setting a bad example, and they had a Baptist minister call on her (although she was an Episcopalian). After speaking with her, he refused to say what passed between them. The following Sunday, Emily and Homer again took their buggy ride. Meanwhile, the minister's wife wrote a letter to her relatives in Alabama, and two of her cousins—both women—came to visit her. After a time, Emily bought a men's grooming set at the local jeweler's. On each of the silver pieces appeared the letters “H. B.” She also purchased men's clothing, including a nightshirt. The narrator says the townspeople concluded that they had been married.
.......One day, Emily bought some arsenic at the local drug store. The druggist clearly labeled the container “for rats.” There was talk the next day that she planned to commit suicide, for Homer had made it clear that he was not the marrying kind. 
.......“[H]e liked men," the narrator says, "and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks' club,” 
.......Then Homer left, and a week later so did the two cousins. However, within three days, a neighbor saw Homer return. Tobe had let him in through the kitchen door. Over the next six months, the only person who left the house was Tobe, with his market basket. 
.......“When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray,” the narrator says. Her hair continued to turn gray, and she continued to remain indoors. When she was around forty, however, she received students whom she taught to paint china. She did that for six or seven years. It was during that period that Colonel Sartoris started forgiving her tax payments.
.......After younger men came to power in the town, the number of her students began to dwindle. Eventually she had no students at all and closed her door to everyone. When tax bills arrived, she sent them back. When free mail delivery commenced, she refused to permit postal officials to tack numbers above her door and install a mailbox. As time passed, she used only the first floor of her house. At age seventy-four, she died in a bed downstairs. No one was aware that she had been ill, for her old servant never spoke to anyone.
.......“[H]is voice had grown harsh and rusty, as if from disuse,” the narrator says.
.......(The story returns to the present.)
.......The two cousins from Alabama hold the funeral on the second day after Emily's death. After Tobe lets the townspeople in for the ceremony, he goes away and doesn't return. The town's ladies stand around whispering. Many of the oldest men, some of whom wear Confederate uniforms, are out on the porch or lawn talking about having danced with Emily or courted her. One room upstairs has been locked for forty years. After the funeral, the people break it open. It resembles a bridal room, with faded rose curtains and lamps with rose-colored shades. On a table are the grooming set for Homer Barron, a collar, and a tie. On the bed is the rotting corpse of Homer Barron in an attitude of embrace. On the pillow next to it is a head indentation and a long gray hair from Emily's head.
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Gothic Overtones

.......The first hint of the story's spooky patina is Emily's house. It is a decaying mansion that no outsider had entered in the decade before her death. Years before, when representatives of the Board of Aldermen gained entry to the house, Emily's servant "led them into a dim hall from which a staircase mounted into still more shadow," the narrator says. "[The house] smelled of dust and disuse—a close, dank smell. 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 that 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."
.......The focus then shifts from the house to Emily's appearance, which is no more inviting than the house: "She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal. . . ."
.......The narrator next hints of sinister goings-on when he mentions the smell that developed "a short time after her sweetheart . . . had deserted her." Had Emily murdered him and hidden the body in the house? 
.......The state of Emily's mind then comes into question when the narrator reports that her great-aunt had gone insane and when he informs the reader that Emily had refused for three days to release her father's body for burial." The reader then learns that Emily had purchased arsenic at the pharmacy and finally that the body of Homer Barron had lain decaying for years on a bed in an upstairs room. Next to it, a pillow with a head indentation indicates that Emily had slept with the body. In other words, Emily had been a necrophile, a person fixated on death and/or sexual relations with a dead person. Her mental illness may have been rooted partly in the same debility that afflicted her great-aunt and partly in the heavy-handed influence of her father that turned her into a lonely recluse. 

Climax

.......The climax of a short story or another literary work can be defined as (1) the turning point at which the conflict begins to resolve itself for better or worse, or as (2) the final and most exciting event in a series of events. The climax of "A Rose for Emily" occurs, according to the first definition, when Emily buys poison to kill Homer Barron. In the year before making the purchase, she had emerged from her seclusion to date Barron. His low social status indicated that she may have been ready to break free of Old South constraints. When Homer decided to leave her, she could have chosen to remain in the modern world and perhaps begin a new relationship and even seek psychological counseling. But, no, she decided to poison Barron and return to seclusion. After this turning point, she remained in her home and descended further into madness. According to the second definition, the climax occurs when the townspeople break into the upstairs room and discover Barron's rotting corpse and the pillow beside it with a gray hair from Emily's head.

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Themes

Psychological Bondage

.......When Emily was a child, her father apparently indoctrinated her with the proud ways of the Old South. When she was old enough to socialize with young men and consider marriage, he banished all her would-be beaus. Her upbringing thus isolated her from the New South residents of the town; she had become totally dependent on, and totally attached to, her father. It is no wonder, then, that when her father died she refused to give up his body for burial. It took townspeople three days to persuade her to surrender the corpse. Afterward, he reached from beyond the grave to continue to oppress her, as the following passage indicates:

Now and then we would see her at a window for a moment, as the men did that night when they sprinkled the lime, but for almost six months she did not appear on the streets. Then we knew that this was to be expected too; as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman's life so many times had been too virulent and too furious to die.
.......Emily had become, in effect, a hapless slave to the will of her father. Her one attempt to free herself of psychological bondage to him occurred when she dated a newcomer to town, a Northerner of low social standing whom she knew her father would not like. But the Northerner, Homer Barron, informed her that he was not the marrying kind. So she lapsed back into the seclusion of her house and into the comfortable past of the Old South. Time had stopped for her, and she decided that it would also stop for Barron.

Living in the Past

.......When Mr. Grierson reared Emily, he instilled in her his Old South values, manners, and customs. He also drove off all her New South suitors, presumably because they could not measure up to his Old South standards. Townspeople generally regarded Emily as haughty, a true daughter of Southern aristocracy. Paradoxically, however, many peoplein particular the older residentslater began to admire and respect her for daring to live according to bygone dictums. She was, as the first paragraph says, something of a "monument."
.......After her father died and left her his house, Emily had no husband and no income, so she clung to the past for support. She even denied that her father had died, a sign that her sanity was beginning to deteriorate. It took her three days to give up her father's body for burial. 
.......Over the years, she remained in the past most of the time, living shut up in her house. Her only connection with the outside world was her servant, who did the marketing. However, in her struggle to cope and to escape her loneliness, she emerged from her seclusion twice: once to keep company with Homer Barron and a second time for seven years to teach china painting to young people. 
......."Then," the narrator says, "the newer generation became the backbone and the spirit of the town, and the painting pupils grew up and fell away and did not send their children to her with boxes of color and tedious brushes and pictures cut from the ladies' magazines. The front door closed upon the last one and remained closed for good." 
.......So Emily once again became a hidden relic of the Old South. To manifest her repudiation of modern ways, she spurned the tax bills of the new generation of government leaders and prevented postal officials from installing a mailbox and an address number above her door. Moreover, she defiantly allowed her house to stand as it was before her father died, making no repairs or other improvements. 
.......Whether Emily enthusiastically embraced Old South traditions in her youth or passively accepted their imposition on her by her father is open to question. In either case, there can be no gainsaying that Emily became a living symbol of the Old South. Consider, for example, the following:

  • Emily relied on a black man to cook and garden for her and to perform other chores. He was, in effect, her slave, never leaving the house except to go to the market. After Emily died, he became emancipated. “He walked right through the house and out the back and was not seen again,” the narrator says.
  • Emily lived in what was once an elegant house, “decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies,” the narrator says, and “set on what had once been our most select street.” It was, in short, a house fit for an Old South belle. But Emily made no attempt to improve or modernize it. To do so would be to remove it from the past, where she lived.
  • In her stand against paying taxes, Emily received the support of Colonel Sartoris, the mayor, whose military title suggests Old South sympathies, as does his “edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron.” 

  • Emily was exploited by a Northerner, Homer Barron, just as Old South residents were exploited by Northern carpetbaggers in the postwar Reconstruction period (1865-1877). Barron was foreman of a crew that “reconstructed” the Old South—that is, his workers installed new sidewalks. After his fling with Emily, he decided to leave her. Then Emily bought the arsenic, murdered him, and returned to the past.
.......Allegorically, she represents not only die-hard adherents of Old South ways but also subscribers to any other outmoded way of lifeor to an antiquated belief, tradition, custom, trend, social movement, and so on. To such people, modern culture—including social customs, scientific and technological advancements, fashions, and so on—are anathema. 

Death of the Old South

.......Emily is a symbol of the Old South. When she dies, the lingering remnants of the Old South die with her—or at least, like the old men in their Confederate uniforms—are about to die. An exception here is the racism in the town, as indicated by the narrator's use of the highly offensive term "nigger." 

Mystery

.......Everyone likes a good mystery, such as Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, or Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles. But some of the best mysteries present themselves in the house down the street in an ordinary city. Such is the case in "A Rose for Emily." The residents of Jefferson closely follow the often perplexing developments at the Grierson house and wonder at the significance of this or that activity. What was the cause of the foul smell? Will Miss Emily marry Homer Barron? Why did she buy the arsenic? There was a time when they would try to get information from her black servant, Tobe. But he would have nothing to say, mainly because his voice "had grown harsh and rusty, as if from disuse." Folks speculated that he probably didn't even talk with Emily. After she died, "the whole town went to the funeral," the narrator says, the women mainly because they wanted to see the inside of the house. After the funeral, people broke into an upstairs room that had been closed for forty years. There, they found out what happened to Homer Barron, but Miss Emily's motives murdering him, her reclusiveness, and the state of her mind when she died all remaned a mystery. 
......."In a Rose for Emily," Faulkner reminds us that mysteries are a part of life. Everybody has secrets. And everybody occasionally acts in a way that not even he or she can explain. 
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Unanswered Question

.......Was Mr. Grierson guilty of incest with his daughter? Evidence in the story hints at this possibility, although the evidence is far from foolproof. This evidence includes the following information provided by the narrator, who may not be entirely reliable: 
.......First, Grierson drove away all of Emily's suitors because, the narrator says, he thought they were not good enough for his daughter. He could have had another reason: s desire to reserve Emily for himself. 
.......Second, the narrator makes no mention of Grierson's wife. Either she was dead or he was divorced from her. In either case, he had no convenient outlet for his libido.
.......Third, Emily vainly attempts to keep the corpse of her father in her house. Later, she succeeds in keeping the corpse of Homer Barron. The last two paragraphs of the story indicate that she slept with the corpse:

For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin. The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him. What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay; and upon him and upon the pillow beside him lay that even coating of the patient and biding dust.
Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaving forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.
One may fairly ask whether this passage indicates that Emily also wanted to sleep with the corpse of her father. 
.......Fourth, insanity ran in the Grierson family. Old Lady Wyatt was insane, and it becomes obvious that Emily was insane. If her father suffered from the same family scourge, it could have predisposed his mind to the commission of an unnatural act.
.......Of course, it is also possible that Grierson realized his daughter suffered from a mental debility. This realization would explain why he kept suitors away. However, if he had such knowledge, it seems likely that he would have made provisions for her care after his death. But there is no evidence that he did so.

Conflicts

.......The main conflicts in the story are (1) Emily vs her father, (2) Emily vs the modern world, and Emily vs her emotional and psychological debilities.

Symbols

Barron: Homer Barron, a Northerner who traveled to Jefferson to install new sidewalks, dated Emily for about a year and then severed his relationship with her. He symbolizes post-Civil War carpetbaggers and, in a larger sense, any opportunists. 
Episcopal Religion: With its elaborate rituals, the Griersons' Episcopalianism appears to represent the ornate trappings and elegant lifestyle of Old South aristocrats.
House: Described as stately but decaying, Emily's house represents what is left of the Old South.
Ink: See Stationery
Mailbox, Metal House Number: These symbolize modernity and change. Emily refuses to allow postal officials to install the house numbers and the mailbox.
Sidewalks: The new sidewalks that Homer Barron and his crew construct appear to symbolize the post-Civil War Reconstruction era.
Tobe: This name (a variant of Toby) of Emily's servant symbolizes (1) slavery and (2) a better future, as suggested by the two words (to and be) that make up his name. 
Stationery: The note Emily sent the mayor was written on "paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink." The archaic shape of the stationery and the faded ink seem to represent the outmoded traditions of the Old South.
Tarnished Metals: The tarnished gold head of Emily's cane and the tarnished silver toilet set in the room with Barron's corpse symbolize aging, deterioration, and death.
Whips: The narrator makes it a point to mention the whips Mr. Grierson and Homer Barron use to lash their horses while driving Emily in their buggies. The whips may represent the male-dominated society of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
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Figures of Speech

.......Following are examples of figures of speech in "A Rose for Emily."

Alliteration
Repetition of a consonant sound

It smelled of dust and disuse—a close, dank smell.
faint dust [was] spinning with slow motes in the single sun-ray
Metaphor
Comparison of unlike things without using like, as, or than
When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument. . . .
(Comparison of Emily Grierson to a monument.)
[T]he past is not a diminishing road but, instead, a huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches. 
(Comparison of the past to a road and a meadow.)
Implied Metaphor

In the following passage, blackness is an implied metaphor for aging and debility:

They rose when she entered—a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand.
Onomatopoeia
Word that imitates a sound
the thin, swift clop-clop-clop of the matched team passed
Oxymoron
Combining contradictory words to reveal a truth. 
heavily lightsome (heavily: slow and clumsy; lightsome: lively, nimble, graceful)
Paradox
Contradictory statement that is actually true
Emily is both weak and strong. For example, her father manipulated her in her youth, but she manipulates city officials in gaining tax forgiveness.
Simile
Comparison of unlike things using like, as, or than
She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water. . . . 
(Comparison of Emily Grierson to a dead body.)
Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another. . . .
(Comparison of Emily's eyes to pieces of coal and her face to a lump of dough)
Now and then we would see her in one of the downstairs windows . . . like the carven torso of an idol in a niche, looking or not looking at us, we could never tell which. 
(Comparison of Emily to the torso of an idol).
Was Barron a Homosexual?

.......In the first paragraph of the fourth section, the narrator says, "[Homer] liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks' Club . . . [and] was not a
marrying man." Was Homer, then, a homosexual?
.......No. The narrator is simply saying that Homer prized his freedom and preferred socializing with men, perhaps over beer and a game of darts, to being tied down to a wife and the duties of a husband.


 

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Study Questions and Essay Topics
  • When her father was driving off her suitors, why didn't Emily run away and live elsewhere?
  • Describe the narrator's attitude toward women.
  • There was an unofficial caste system in the South in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Describe the people at the top, those at the bottom, and those in the middle.
  • Write a psychological profile of Emily. Support your thesis with evidence from the story and research from books and Internet sources. 
  • In an essay, compare and contrast William Faulkner's handling of horror involving a woman with Edgar Allan Poe's handling of the same subject. Among Poe short stories involving a woman are Berenice, The Fall of the House of Usher, Ligeia, Morella, and The Oval Portrait.

 

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