a rose for emily What significance do you see in the strand of iron-gray hair found on the second pillow?

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Kristopher Parisian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The hair suggests not only that Miss Emily has been sleeping with the dead body in the attic bedroom, but that she has been doing so recently. If the hair were of a different color (not grey), we might have assumed that the habit of sleeping with the body was an old one, not a recent one. 

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lfawley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Well, the first significance is that the grey hair lets the readers know that Miss Emily has been sleeping with a corpse for years, presumably since Homer's disappearance.

We can move beyond that, as well, and look to what this says about Miss Emily. She was so co-dependent on first her father and then on Homer that she was happy to have him as a corpse if it meant that she could keep him forever. Other posters have covered this well, but I think that an area that you could further explore here is the manservant who left rapidly at the start of the story. He knew that Miss Emily was keeping Homer's body. There is no way that he could not have known. Yet he allowed her to continue her charade. He allowed her to sleep with her dead lover for years, never saying anything to anyone about it. The grey hair on the pillow indicates, at least in the sheltered world of Miss Emily's house, a sense of normalcy that is outside of the realm that most of us consider normal.

 

 

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree with the previous posters. We should not be surprised that Miss Emily is so attached to a corpse, since earlier she refused to let go of her father's. Anyone who is desperate enough to want to have someone stay with her that she will kill...

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