Will somebody please explain the ending of "A Rose for Emily" to me? I must have not been paying attention to certain key parts of the story, but I don't want to have to go back, find...

Will somebody please explain the ending of "A Rose for Emily" to me?

I must have not been paying attention to certain key parts of the story, but I don't want to have to go back, find which parts those are, and read the whole story over again. Thanks.

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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At the end of the story, the narrator is describing the state of Miss Emily's house after her death.  The townspeople, particularly townswomen, have gone in to clean out the house in the wake of Emily's passing.  This is the first time in years that anyone has been inside the house, with the exception of Miss Emily's servant. 

When the women go into Miss Emily's bedroom, they find the skeleton of a man that has been long dead.  They also find the toiletry kit of the man that has been etched with the initials "HB".  This confirms that the dead body is that of Homer Barron, Miss Emily's beau from long ago.  The townspeople had believed that Homer had left Miss Emily because he suddenly stopped being seen.  They had even believed that Emily was going to commit suicide, because she had purchased arsenic at the time of his disappearance.  However, this body tells us that Emily had used the arsenic on Homer, killing him and keeping his body in the house - which explains the smell from the house that the townspeople had been concerned about years before. 

Beside Homer on the bed is a strand of iron-gray hair - Miss Emily's hair.  She was so attached to Homer that not only did she kill him to prevent him from leaving, but she also lay in a bed with his dead body.

Creepy, huh?

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