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Author William Faulkner foreshadows much of the events that occur in "A Rose for Emily," particularly through the use of flashbacks. He begins in the first paragraph when, in mentioning Emily's funeral, he shows the women of Jefferson's "curiosity to see the inside of her house." The curiosity that Faulkner introduces about "the smell" pervades throughout the story. The stench that surrounds the property is much too strong to be a dead rat, but the townspeople (and the reader) can not be expected to assume the true cause. Emily's refusal to allow her father's body to be removed from the house for three days following his death foreshadows the presence of Homer's own body in the bedroom. Another strong example of foreshadowing appears when Emily purchases arsenic--strong enough to "kill anything up to an elephant"--to kill rats (or, in this case, the rat, Homer, who spurns her wedding advances). The fact that Homer is seen entering Emily's house but never leaving is another example.
At the conclusion of the short story, the town members finally knock down the upstairs door in Emily's home to a room that nobody had seen in forty years. Faulker then describes the mysterious room that was fitted for a bridal party. There were various wedding gifts and clothes that were covered in dust throughout the room. On the bed, a man's skeleton is lying down, and the pillow next to the skeleton has an indentation in it. There are also traces of Emily's iron-grey hair on the pillow which suggests that she had been sleeping next to Homer's dead skeleton.
There are several pieces of evidence that foreshadow this conclusion throughout the short story. To begin with, the reader knows that Emily's great-aunt Wyatt had gone completely crazy later on in life, which foreshadows Emily's insanity. Emily also buys arsenic, which foreshadows that she will kill Homer Barron. The stench that comes from her home suggests that Homer is indeed dead and is decaying in Emily's home. Also, Emily's refusal to acknowledge her father's death foreshadows her feelings towards Homer's death. She refuses to acknowledge that Homer has died and continues to sleep next to him each night.
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