In the story "A Rose For Emily," how could you prove that Emily premeditatedly murdered Homer?I have to prove that Emily killed Homer on purpose and that it was premeditated. Any help would be...

In the story "A Rose For Emily," how could you prove that Emily premeditatedly murdered Homer?

I have to prove that Emily killed Homer on purpose and that it was premeditated. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

In order to prove premeditation, you have to carefully consider the scene when Miss Emily goes to the druggist to buy the arsenic. When she is asked why she needs it, she refuses to answer.  Something in her demeanor made the druggist not want to even return to the counter to give it to her. 

In order to really understand the story and better "make your case" for premeditation, you must take some time and figure out the accurate time line and sequence of events.  Faulkner wrote the story in a stream of consciousnes fashion, but his math is very accurate and logical, if you take the time.  If you put the story in a rough chronology you discover that:

1.  Homer and Emily started going for carriage rides.

2.  Then people started to talk about Miss Emily's relationship behind her back.  They were concerned that someone of Miss Emily's standing really shouldn't be dating someone like a Homer -- a northerner and a day laborer.

3.  After what is probably close to a year, they still gossip about the relationship, but now they feel sorry for her because it is more clear now that Homer is NOT going to marry Miss Emily.  It is stated in the story that he is "not a marrying man."  The town is concerned, so the call her Geirson cousins to come stay with her and get her to see the relationship for what it is.

4.  Then Miss Emily buys the poison.  The town thinks she may kill herself, but then they discover that she isn't.  Instead, things seem to be moving forward in her relationship with Homer.

5.  Then she buys the mens toiletry set.

6.  Then Homer leaves for awhile.

7.  Then Emily kicks the cousins out of the house.

8.  Then Homer returns.

9.  Then Homer is never scene again.

10.  Then the smell comes from around her house.

If she bought the poison in anticipation of killing him so that he couldn't leave her, and then made it look like their relationship was fine, then that could be part of your case for premeditation.

The other fact that could help the case is the elaborate care she took with the upstairs room where the townspeople found Homer.  The room is completely decked out "for a bridal" and Homer's dead body is found "in the attitude of an embrace" while the men found a "long strand of iron gray hair" on the pillow beside him.  She obviously intended to kill him, arrange his body in the house and it that bed, and then sleep with the corpse for what turns out to be at least a couple of years before she shuts up the room permanently. 

dnainsworth's profile pic

dnainsworth | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

That is the way I see it going only there are a few other things I think might allow you to know Emily was going to murder Homer. In the story the cousins come to visit because the preacher calls them. Had the preacher not called Emily's relatives they never would have showed up because of the falling out in the family over the house and land when old Lady Wyatt died. However, when the cousins are there with Emily the townspeople start to question if it was a good idea to bring those relatives down here because as it's said in the book. "We were glad because the two female cousins were even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been." Implying that these girls were even more crazy and weird than Emily had ever been. It's possible since the reason they wanted the girls to come see Emily is to get her to realize her relationship with Homer is not a relationship at all, the girls may have given her the idea to kill Homer and then she made them leave so that if she got caught her cousins were not involved.

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