A Rose for Emily, is a short story by William Faulkner, a Southern writer. The brief tale concerns an elderly spinster, or unmarried Southern woman whose family was once a part of the post-Civil War, or antebellum aristocracy. While they may have fallen upon hard times thereafter, in Emily’s mind she was still a part of that ruling class. As the author informs, Emily was a younger woman when her Father dies and she refused to accept his death, waiting for days before she would allow his body to be taken from her, as the two were the last of the remaining family.
Apparently most men were not good enough for Emily, typically beneath her means, which was no okay with her or her father. Following his death, she engages with Homer Barron, who is not only a laborer, but also from the North, and apparently not the type to settle down and marry. Though some distant cousins come to town to try to persuade her otherwise, Emily seems to have the support of others with respect to this relationship. She is seen buying arsenic “for rats” at the druggist, about the same time that Homer Barron allegedly takes off and is never seen again.
Through the years, Emily is tended to by a Negro named Toby, who cares for the home and for her needs, including in her ongoing dispute regarding tax obligations that may or may not exists. Her manservant remains with her as they both age, up until the time that the eccentric Emily eventually passes away. Once she has been buried, the body of Homer Barron is found, in bed, in her home, with an indentation of a head on the pillow next to him, along with a telltale strand of Emily’s old grey hair.