- Willms, Janice
- Date of entry: Jan-30-2006
This tale covers several decades in the life of the protagonist, Emily Grierson. In a typically Faulknerian style, the reader is led back and forth over time by an unidentified narrator, known only as we. The viewpoint is that of generations of observers in Miss Emily's southern town who have watched and speculated about her since she was a young woman living under the thumb of a father characterized as controlling.
After father's death, Emily lives in the aging family mansion with a manservant as cook, gardener, and general handyman. A few years pass and a handsome laborer from the North arrives as part of a project crew. Emily and this man are seen to be keeping company. One day Emily appears in the apothecary and buys arsenic. The man in question is not seen again by the townspeople.
Thirty years pass and Emily does not leave her home; she ages, grows fat with long, iron-gray hair, and becomes increasingly reclusive, and eventually dies. The now elderly houseman admits the city fathers to the home and disappears, never to be seen again. As the townspeople go through the house they discover a locked door, which when broken down leads into a dusty, musty and faded room. In the bed lie the skeletal remains of a man whose clothes and toiletries (recognized by those who recall Emily purchasing them and having them inscribed with the laborer's initials) occupy the room. On the indented pillow next to the remains is a single, long, iron-gray hair.