Emily is pitied by the townsfolk because her father died leaving her with nothing. She was raised in the fashion of old nobility and no one has the heart to break through her pride. Homer Barron comes to town with a construction crew. He and Emily begin dating. Many in town don't approve of their relationship or their many appearances together. Eventually, Homer is seen entering Emily's house late one night. He is never seen again. Since Emily herself isn't seen in town for several months after, it is assumed that Homer has left her and she is heartbroken.
Several occurrences draw suspicious to Emily's house. For one thing, Emily bought a box of poison before Homer's disappearance from town. For another thing, her house takes on a terrible smell for a time. She actually closes the house to all visitors and family. We are left to wonder what exactly has happened to poor Homer and lonely Ms. Emily until her death. Eventually, we learn that Homer has died in the house. It is presumed that Emily killed him and (with the evidence of a gray hair next to the body) has been sleeping in the bed beside his corpse.