Behind Closed Doors

The short story, “A Story for Emily”, by William Faulkner, is an interesting text about a woman that clings to what she has left, whether it’s her dead father or her lover that she poisoned, so he could never leave her. It leads her to isolate herself in her house with the staff where she is almost never seen by anyone until she dies.

 The story itself is narrated by the townsfolk of Jefferson, Mississippi. The author shows this through the town gossip about Emily Grierson and how as the reader, we never get to hear from Emily’s point of view or what she’s thinking. The town talks about her like she’s a chore for them, especially after her father dies. No matter how hard the mayor tries, she will not pay her taxes, “On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. February came, and there was no reply. They wrote her a formal letter, asking her to call the sheriff’s office at her convenience” (pg.804). After her father dies Emily believes that she doesn’t have to pay taxes anymore because, “See Colonel Sartoris”. (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) “ I have no taxes in Jefferson…”(pg.805).  It is unknown whether she believes that Colonel Sartoris is still alive because she hasn’t heard of any news about his death. She hasn’t left her house for awhile or she might believe she is speaking to the Colonel. She could be in denial that anyone who’s died is really dead.

Through what we learn about Emily, the reader can tell that something is definitely wrong with her. This gets brought out more at the end of the story. Emily is seen as a interesting lady even after death. When her relatives come to her funeral, they know that a door upstairs is locked. What they find in there is a tragic sight. Before them is what looks to be mens clothes covered in dust but what’s most upsetting is what’s on the bed. On the bed, is the body of the the man that the town thought Emily would marry, Homer Barron. It’s hard to tell how long he has been on that bed but given that fact that he is fused with the bed, says that it has been a long time. However, the most disturbing part of all this, other that the fact that there is a dead body that Emily has been hiding, is the indentation on the pillow beside of Homer. It seems like someone with long iron-gray hair has been sleeping beside him for a long time. It is thought that Emily poisoned him so that he would never leave her and she slept with a rotting corpse and bones for a long time.

The short story that is, “A Rose For Emily”, is confusing but interesting with how it is written. It starts with her death but ends with her secret, that is only found out after she is dead. Between the pages, it jumps around through intriguing  parts of what the town thinks is important. Almost like they are talking about her after she’s gone. It’s like individuals are saying different things about her at separate occasions in her life. You never really know about people until they are dead, but even then you will never truly understand their motives.


Screenshot 2018-11-13 at 6.22.40 PM


Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings and
Handbook. 4th ed., by Richard Bullock, Maureen Daly Goggin, and Francine Weinberg, 2016,
pp. 803-12.
Hughes, Langston. “I, Too.” The Poetry Foundation,, n.d, Accessed 16 Oct. 2018.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s