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A Rose for Emily. By William Faulkner (Katelyn and Rachel). Structure. Broken into five sections Starts with the funeral and ends with her death Many flashbacks. Part 1 Plot Summary. The narrator recalls the funeral for Emily

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a rose for emily

A Rose for Emily

By William Faulkner

(Katelyn and Rachel)


Broken into five sections

Starts with the funeral and ends with her death

Many flashbacks

part 1 plot summary
Part 1 Plot Summary

The narrator recalls the funeral for Emily

Many people attended because they wanted to see the inside of her house

No one has been in her house in 10 years except her servant, Tobe

She never paid her taxes

part 2 plot summary
Part 2 Plot Summary

30 years earlier

The townspeople complain about the odor coming from Emily’s house

They trespass into her property to try and rid the smell

We find out her father had died and her sweetheart had left her (still single by age 30)

Took her 3 days to turn over her father’s body

part 3 plot summary
Part 3 Plot Summary

Takes place before part 2

Emily starts to become ill

She meets Homer who is a construction worker and he isn’t accepted into her social class

Her reputation is compromised

She bought poison, “for the rats”

part 4 plot summary
Part 4 Plot Summary

The townspeople call upon Emily’s family to come and stay with her

The townspeople are hopeful for Emily’s marriage with Homer

She buys the toilet set and nice men’s clothing

Homer enters Emily’s home and is never seen again (only the servant is seen entering and leaving her house)

Emily ages and falls ill and dies

part 5 plot summary
Part 5 Plot Summary

Emily’s body is laid out in the parlor

Everyone from town and Emily’s two cousins attend her funeral

The find a door that has been sealed for 40 years and the townspeople break into the room

They find all the items Emily had bought in hopes for her marriage and Homer’s decayed body

They also find an indention in the pillow next to Homer with a gray hair suspected to be Emily’s

characterization of emily
Characterization of Emily

She’s a creep

The classic outsider

Hides her true identity from the town

House shields herself and represents her

Enforces her own sense of law and conduct

Pitied by the townspeople

Takes Homer’s life to achieve total power over him

characterization of homer
Characterization of Homer

Also an outsider and a stranger to town

Initially becomes the center of attention but is soon distrusted because he is from the North and is a laborer

Outings with Emily were scandalous because he is from a lower class

Is portrayed as a homosexual (enjoyed going to bars with younger men)

  • Impact of Death:
    • Through the death of her father, Emily begins to lose her morals and her sanity
    • Goes from being charming and beautiful to decrepit and lonely
    • She has a bizarre relationship to dead bodies of men that she once loved
    • She wants to fuse life and death but ultimately death triumphs
  • Her house:
    • Represents Emily and her dark side and her sheltered nature
  • The strand of her hair:
    • Represents love lost, and perverse things that people do for their pursuit of happiness
overall point
Overall Point

Emily’s odd actions towards the men she loved demonstrates her need for control and acceptance in her broken life.

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