A Rose for Emily Questions and Answers
by William Faulkner

A Rose for Emily book cover
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What is the story A Rose for Emily about? Please help me out

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teacher2011 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This story is about an eccentric old lady who lives in a small town in the South. She comes from an important family that was highly revered by the town. Emily refuses to adapt to the times and has little involvement with any of the town members as she grows older. She feels no need to explain herself to anyone or conform to any of their norms. The town remains somewhat infatuated with rumors about her.

Later, we learn that she has a dark secret that she has kept for many years. She poisoned only man she ever dated, Homer Barron, and kept his corpse in a bed in her house. We later learn she had lain in the position of an embrace with the corpse until her hair had turned gray.

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I don't understand your question.  Have you read Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" and you don't understand it?  Or have you not read it and you want someone to tell you what happens so you don't have to read it?

I'll tell you what's at the center of the story in case you don't understand it, but I won't give you plot details so you don't have to read it.

Faulkner often writes about the South in the period following the Civil War.  The South was devastated by the war:  its economy was destroyed, and most of the battles and raids and destruction took place in the South.  This story is about the recovery, or lack of it.  It is a bit of an allegory about refusing to let go of a glorious past. 

Emily, once a member of the aristocracy, has been "reduced" to a "commoner," so to speak.  And she refuses to accept the reduced status. 

The story is allegorically about the lengths a person will go to in order to hold on to a glorious past. 

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Literally, the story is about an old woman (well, she is not old the whole time) who is very desperate for love.  She has a guy who she thinks she is going to marry but he, apparently, dumps her.  Something like thirty years later, she dies and her house is inspected.  When people look through it, they find that she has had the guy's dead body up in her room the whole time and has been sleeping with it.

In terms of message, the story is about what lengths a person can be driven to when she is desperate.  It is about the damage that can be done to a person's psyche when she is isolated and friendless.

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