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A Rose for Emily

            William Faulkner first published this short story in 1930. He spent most of his life in a small town in the south. He often portrayed southerners isolated psychologically from the modern world, as he has done in this story recounting the end of a life and a lifestyle. Miss Emily Grierson had become a monument. Being from a family once wealthy and well known, she had never really been allowed to date. She had barely been seen since the death of her father, whose body she kept hidden in the house for three days. She was sick for a long time after her father's death. Then the following summer a construction crew was hired to pave the sidewalks. Emily found herself attracted to Homer Barron, a Yankee and the foreman of the job. The townspeople were happy for her at first, despite the knowledge that Homer "liked men." As time went on however, the elderly folks began to think she needed intervention, certain that no Grierson in their right mind would truly take up with a Yankee. Soon after she was known to purchase a man's suit, leading everyone to believe they would be married. Homer left town and everyone assumed he was preparing a home for Emily. Oddly enough she had purchased rat poison around this time as well. For years after Homer left Emily was rarely glimpsed. And then finally she passed away. Her cousins came at once to arrange everything and close up the old house. When they forced open a room in the upstairs, they found the rotted body of Homer, laying as if in an embrace. Next to him on the pillow was a long strand of iron gray hair. It seems Emily never really lived in the here and now. She denied the obvious fact that her father was dead for three days. She refused to pay taxes. She refused to accept the fact that Homer was not interested, for whatever reasons. She had lost enough touch with reality to actually murder her lover, thus keeping him with her forever. Emily lived in a world all her own, most likely quite happily.

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