The story is divided into five sections. Each section gives portions of the story, but not in chronological order. In the first section of the story, you learn that Emily Grierson has died. The rest of the story until the last section fills in the blanks of her life.
A smell develops around her house. The men of the town use lime to kill the smell. Her father dies when she is about 30 years old. We learn that Emily does not face death well. You also learn that there has been insanity in her family.
Homer Barron comes to town from the north. An announced homosexual, he squires Emily around in a buggy on Sunday. The town gossip about it.
Emily buys arsenic from the pharmacist.
The women gossip about Homer and Emily. They hope that they will get married to save her good name. Her cousins come from Alabama to talk to her and help her. The women send the Baptist minister to talk to her. All of which comes to nothing.
Emily bought a men's toiletry set and nightshirt embroidered with HB.
Homer was seen going into Emily's backdoor, let in by Tobe, her servant.
Homer was never seen again. Emily was not seen either for several years. When she was seen again, she was fat and her hair had turned gray.
After the funeral all of the women and men show up at the house to snoop around. They all have known about the upstairs bedroom. They break down the door, discovering a skeleton that had been there for over 40 years. On the pillow beside Homer's corpse was a gray hair. Emily captured her man forever.
William Faulkner felt sorry for his character. He named the story giving Miss Emily a much deserved rose because of her sad life.