Musings in the Dark: Horror 101: "A Rose For Emily"


Horror 101: "A Rose For Emily"

I read this back in high school as part of the curriculum for American Lit.  While I love almost anything Southern Gothic, I’m not a big fan of William Faulkner.  However, I love this story.  Basically, it’s the story of a lonely woman, Miss Emily Grierson, and an unnamed narrator tells it in a non-linear fashion.  Miss Emily’s father ensured that she would never marry and when he died, she struggled with releasing the body for burial.  Overall, it seems that Miss Emily struggles with change in general and clings to the past almost desperately.  

Soon, a northerner laborer named Homer Barron comes to town to work, and he is seen regularly with Miss Emily.  The townspeople assume they will get married, and when word gets out that Miss Emily purchased wedding finery for Homer, they confirm it to be true.  Miss Emily buys arsenic, Homer is never seen again and Miss Emily becomes a full-on recluse.  For decades, the townspeople wondered about the goings-on in Miss Emily’s house.  When word got out that she had finally died, the eager townsfolk gained entry into her house and discovered Homer’s desiccated remains in the bed and a strand of Miss Emily’s hair on the pillow next to it.

What more can I say?  Dilettantes, y’all know me by now.  After I read the story for the first time, I had to go back and read it again just to make sure I read it right.  Ol’ Miss Emily was into necrophilia and I couldn’t help but wonder how far she went with it before Homer’s body began to decompose.  Of course, all of that is left up to speculation.  Due to the time of this story’s publication, I am sure readers were perfectly horrified to learn that Miss Emily slept next to a corpse and to imply anything else was profane.


  1. I love this story. Miss Emily was getting hers up until that thang dried up, God bless her.


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