What is the significance of what the people found on the pillow in "A Rose for Emily," and what does it mean?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These are the clues which conclude one of the greatest surprise endings in all of American literature. When Miss Emily's bedroom was entered by the curious townspeople, they found two important things on the pillow: One was the "indentation of a head," not a surpising revelation in the days of feather pillows. But the other item was particularly shocking: On the same pillow they found

a long strand of iron-grey hair.

Since this was the same bed in which the group of men found the remains of what must have been the body of Homer Barron, the iron-grey hair could have only meant one thing: Since Emily's hair was NOT grey when she courted Homer, it could only signify that she had been sleeping beside her long-deceased beau many years after his death--and perhaps on a nightly basis for decades.

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A Rose for Emily

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