A Rose for Emily
Summary of Part I
The narrator of this story is the voice of the town rather than a specific person. The story begins with a recounting of when Miss Emily Grierson died, and how the whole town went to her funeral. The women of the town went mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which is "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."
The reader then gets a explanation of why Miss Emily had been a "hereditary obligation upon the town." In 1894, the mayor, Colonel Sartoris, remitted her taxes ...view middle of the document...
" When the ladies of the town went to the house to call on Miss Emily the day after her father's death, Miss Emily told them that her father was not dead. Finally, after three days and under threat of law and force, she allows her father to be buried. The townspeople did not say she was crazy then, because they assumed she had to "cling to that which had robbed her" of a married life, since her father had driven away her suitors.
Summary of Part III
The narrator follows chronologically now, to the arrival of the construction company to pave the sidewalks. Homor Barron was the gregarious foreman, and the townspeople began to observe him in Miss Emily's company driving on Sundays. The old people said, "Poor Emily. Her kinsfolk should come to her."
Then the narrator tells the story of when Miss Emily went to the druggist to request "some poison." The conversation between Miss Emily and the druggist is related word for word, and the druggist gives her the poison while strongly implying that it should only be used "for rats and such." When the package is delivered to her, "For rats" is written on it.
Summary of Part IV
The women of the town began to say that her riding around in the buggy with Homer Barron, with no intention of marriage, was a "disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people." The Baptist minister called upon her, but left and refused to return; his wife wrote to Miss Emily's family in Alabama a week later. Her "kinsfolk" came to her, from Alabama, even though there had been a falling out in the family. The townspeople thought that "the two female cousins were even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been." The town had become a "cabal, and we were all Miss Emily's allies to help circumvent the cousins." Homer Barron disappeared, but after the cousins from Alabama left, a neighbor reported seeing Homer Barron return to the house "at dusk one evening." But he was never seen again.
After that, Miss Emily did not leave the house for six months.
For a period of "six or seven years" when she was about forty years old, Miss Emily gave china-painting lessons to "the daughters and granddaughters of Colonel Sartoris' contemporaries." Then the students stopped coming. Miss Emily also refused to let a mailbox be attached to her house when the town got postal delivery service. Years pass and Miss Emily "passed from generation to generation - dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse." The town did not even know she was sick before she died, since Tobe, her servant, did not talk to anyone.
Summary of Part V
After letting in the mourners after Miss Emily's death, Tobe disappeared out the back door. The two female cousins from Alabama arrived and held the funeral. The narrator describes how a group of townspeople waited until Miss Emily "was decently in the ground" before forcing open the door to a deserted room above the stairs. The room was coated in dust, and "decked and furnished as for a bridal," including a...