William Faulkner’s short story, A Rose for Emily, describes the story of a woman who is not allowed from marrying due to her overprotective father, who dies shortly after the story begins. The story takes place in a small town in the South shortly after the Civil War. When Emily’s father dies suddenly, after she has turned 30, she refuses to accept he has died and keeps his body in the house for three days.
The story begins after Emily has died, with the rest of the story told in flashbacks. Emily lived alone with her overprotective father, who never allowed her to interact with men. He also supports her, and pays her taxes for her. After her father dies, Emily does not accept his death and keeps his body in the house for three days. She then becomes a recluse, and only her butler, Tobe, is ever seen leaving the house to get supplies. The townspeople gossip about her, but they also feel sorry for her, allowing her to remain in her house without paying taxes because they do not want to burden her.
About ten years later, Emily meets a man from the North, named Homer. The townspeople see Homer and Emily becoming close, sharing carriages together, and they believe that the two will get married. However, as is revealed later, Emily poisons Homer so he will never leave her. After many years later, Emily also dies, at which point the curious townspeople enter her home to see what it must be like. They not only find that Homer has died long ago, as they find his body in the bed, but they also see that Emily had been sleeping next to Homer for years, in the same way a wife would sleep next to her husband. Despite the morbid conclusion of the story, Emily is seen as a sad and tragic figure, as the reader understands her isolation.