The Emily's house described in the second paragraph of the story provides one important setting, which says as much about Emily as it does the house itself for it represents her. It had "once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the [1870s], set on what had once been our most select street." Emily, too, was once "pure" and young and beautiful, decorated in fancy clothes and designs because she came from a privileged family. Now, however, "garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily's house as left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay...." Modernization has rendered her neigborhood as it has rendered her obsolete and hidden by industry--the past has been obscured by the present. But her house, as "stubborn and coquettish" as she remains, just as her legacy will not easily disappear.