A Rose for Emily


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"A Rose for Emily" is a short story by American author William Faulkner first published on April 30, 1930. 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.

Plot summary

"A Rose for Emily" recounts the story of an eccentric spinster, Emily Grierson. An unnamed narrator details the strange circumstances of Emily’s life and her odd relationships with her father and her lover, the Yankee road worker Homer Barron. She is seen buying arsenic, which the townspeople believe she will use to commit suicide. After this, Homer Barron is not heard from again, and is assumed to have returned north. Though she does not commit suicide, the townspeople of Jefferson continue to gossip about her and her eccentricities, citing her family's history. She is heard from less and less, and rarely ever leaves her home. Unbeknownst to the townspeople until her death, hidden in her upstairs bedroom is Homer's corpse. This explains the horrid stench that emitted from Miss Emily's house 40 years previously. By finding a single gray hair in the bed, the townspeople discover that Emily had been sleeping with the corpse.

The story was adapted for film 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.