"A Rose for Emily" is a short story by American author William Faulkner first published in the April 30, 1930 issue of Forum . This story takes place in Faulkner's fictional city, Jefferson, in his fictional county of Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. It was Faulkner's first short story published in a national magazine.
Section two reveals to us that the Grierson family is a very proud Southern family, which has had its fair share of unusual characters. The audience learns that Mr. Grierson, Emily’s father, being a proud man, never believed any was good enough for his daughter and would chase them away. When he died, Emily would not allow the authorities to remove his dead body for three days, claiming that he is still alive . This section also mentions that two years after her father’s death, when her father left her, a strange smell came from the Grierson home.
In the third section, the narrator reveals some information about Emily’s beau. His name was Homer Barron and he was a foreman from the north. He came to Jefferson with a crew of men to build sidewalks outside the Grierson home. After Emily and Homer had been seen driving through town several times, Emily went to visit a druggist. When there she asked to buy some poison, specifically requesting arsenic. The druggist asks her what it is for however she doesn’t respond. (The druggist treated her like a celebrity -- with bias. He didn't ask for her purpose, therefore, he is also responsible for the event that is to come. When Miss Emily's servant brought the box to her, it was labeled, "For Rats.")
The fourth section opens with the citizens of Jefferson under the belief that Miss Emily is going to kill herself due to the fact that Homer has not yet asked her to marry him. The townspeople take it upon themselves to contact some of Miss Emily’s cousins to come and comfort her. Shortly after their arrival, Homer leaves (the narrator tells us this is because the cousins are even more Grierson-like, or proud, than Miss Emily or her father were) and when they leave, he returns. The narrator tells us that after Homer comes back to Jefferson one night, he is never seen again. And it is simply believed that Mr. Grierson’s spirit was “too virulent and too furious to die” and drove him away. Since Homer’s disappearance, Emily Grierson began to age, gain weight and was rarely seen outside of her home. This section ends with Miss Emily’s death.
The final section begins with the women of Jefferson entering the Grierson home. After their arrival, the black man who had been taking care of Miss Emily leaves without saying a word to anyone. A funeral is held and immediately after the townspeople go through the house. They arrive at a room which no one had seen in forty years and break its door down. Inside the dusty room they discover a bridal scene. The toilet set that Miss Emily had purchased for Homer years ago was there as well as a man’s tie, suit and shoes; all neatly folded but covered with dust. Inside the bed lay the remains of Homer Barron dressed in a nightshirt. On the pillow next to him was the impression of a head and the townsfolk found a single “long strand of iron-gray hair.” This reveals that not only had Miss Emily killed Homer but also had been sleeping next to Homer’s decaying body all these years (necrophilia).
The story was adapted for a longer length film as well in 1987 by Chubby Cinema Company, and has since been released as a 27-minute video. The cast includes Anjelica Huston, John Houseman, John Randolph, John Carradine and Jared Martin.