This is a short story by William Faulkner. It has been set in the south in a city called Jefferson. Here is the plot overview. So, this is a story about the life of Emily who lived in this city and isolated herself from the others until her death.
Here Is a Brief Synopsis of the Story
The plot begins with the whole Jefferson City population attending Emily’s funeral. Her full name is Emily Grierson. She was the last of the Grierson, an aristocratic family and led a very enclosed life. Her taxes had been remitted by a former mayor because the residents saw her as an obligation because of her family. After she had died, the residents were now curious to explore her house, as it had been sealed for around a decade.
The focus then shifts to Emily’s past and explores her life. The first section She had been raised by a controlling parent, her father, who went to the extent of rejecting all of his daughter’s suitors as he believed none were worthy. When her father passed on, she became a poor spinster. The mayor of that period showed the respect of her aristocratic family by remitting her taxes. His name was Sartoris, a Colonel. He managed to sell this act to the other residents by creating a story that her father had donated much money to their town. This did not last very long as after Sartoris died the new politicians tried to make Emily pay taxes. She would still refuse and kept telling them to see the Colonel.
In the second section, the story gives the details about the death of Emily’s father. A short time after death took him from her, there was a smell that started issuing from her residence. Her neighbors went to the judge and asked him to discuss the smell with Emily. He refused and even expressed his anger with their request. Some men snuck in her estate and started sprinkling lime to help counter the stench. The people had even begun speculating about Emily’s mental health. As it turns out, Emily refused to have her father’s body removed from the house three days after he passed on.
The third section takes further into the past before Emily’s father’s death. She was courting Homer Barron, a laborer who was below her social standards. Homer was loud and big and even claimed that he was disinterested in marrying. For some time this courtship was a source of amusement. Some older people found it offensive that a ‘Yankee’ and a woman from aristocratic southern roots would match. Emily did not care about this. The narrator takes us to about a year or so after the courtship whereby Emily buys rat poison from the town druggist without giving the reason behind the purchase. Of course, some of the town residents speculated that she wanted to use it to end her life, which she did not.
The fourth section provides even more about courtship. As Emily and Homer’s courtship continued, the people of the town decided to put it to an end. They first tried to make a religious minister talk to her. This failed, and hence they went on to contact her relatives. The relatives responded by sending two cousins to stay with Emily. Emily bought some men’s clothes and a toilet seat which made the people assume that she got married to Homer. Homer decided to leave town. After the cousins left, he came back. After being spotted getting accepted into her house one of the nights, he was not seen in the city again. Emily also disappeared for about half a year. When she returned, she had added weight, and her hair turned grey.
After the disappearance of Homer, Emily became even more distant with the rest of the people. The people would only see her while she sat by the window in the house. She had a servant named Toby who helped her with cooking and housekeeping. It did not seem like they talked to each other.
The fifth section takes us back to the present. After the death of Emily, Tobe goes on to leave the city and does not come back. After Emily has been buried, the people go into her house. They explore until they get to a room upstairs. Here they are shocked by the sight of Homer’s remains. The room is full of dust and seems to have been unbothered for some decades. They also find a strand of hair the belonged to Emily.