In "A Rose for Emily" what did Miss Emily tell her visitors the day after her father's death?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is one of those questions that can be answered by a close reading of the text.  Faulkner does make things a bit confusing though, because he doesn't tell the story sequentially.  If you look about 1/3 through 1/2 of the way through, after the story talks about the smell issue, it describes her father's death.  He died, and a bunch of ladies went to visit her the next day, and

"Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face.  She told them that her father was not dead.  She did that for three days."

So, Miss Emily was in serious denial about her father's death.  She refused to admit that he was dead, and it wasn't until 3 days later that "she broke down, and they buried her father quickly."  This refusal to give up her father's body, and her trauma over a loved one leaving her, comes into play in a VERY significant way later on, so it is an important thing to note early on.  I hope that helped.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the second section of the short story, Emily Grierson's relationship with her father is illustrated. According to the citizens of Jefferson, the Grierson family was viewed as a "tableau," with her father holding a horsewhip standing in the foreground while Emily's slender figure stood behind him in the background. The reader also learns that her father prevented anyone from dating his daughter and Emily remained single at the age of thirty. When her authoritative father died, Emily was left penniless, and she became humanized to the citizens of Jefferson. The day after his death, the ladies of Jefferson arrived at the Grierson household to offer their condolences, and Emily told them that her father was not dead. For three days Emily refused to acknowledge her father's death until she finally broke down and let them bury him. Emily's strange behavior regarding the death of her father foreshadows her interactions with Homer Barron towards the end of the story. 

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A Rose for Emily

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