Emily is from a proud Southern family. Her father is most responsible for shaping her character. He won't allow any men to date his daughter because he thinks none of them are good enough. Her father becomes the only person in her life. When he dies, she's so upset that she won't allow anyone to take his body out of the house for three days. At this point, Emily shuts herself off from the town for most of her life. Then she meets Homer Barron, a Yankee foreman who is paving the streets of the town. He is the only person Emily allows in her life. She takes buggy rides with him, and the town's ladies look down on her for her relationship with Homer. They never marry, and the narrator suggests that Emily is driven to murder because she's afraid Homer will leave her.
Regarding her taxes, Emily's father leaves her without any money, so Colonel Sartoris, the former mayor of the town, decides the town will take on the responsibility of paying her taxes to keep her from being embarrassed. Later in the story, new leaders of the town try to collect taxes from Emily and go to her house. Emily tells the men to talk to Sartoris, who has been dead for almost ten years. She sends the men away and gives them nothing.