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Summary of "A Rose For Emily" by William Faulkner

Summary

Miss Emily Grierson had been a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894. Miss Emily Grierson refused paying tax- claiming “I have the privilege not paying tax because my father lent money to the town”- but time passed this arrangement made some little dissatisfaction, so mayors and alderman mailed her a tax notice many times. But she continued to refuse tax even if a deputation visited her house.

After the death of her father, her house’s smell was bad and she was sick for a long time. The town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks, and in the summer after her father’s death they began the work. The construction company came with niggers and mules and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee-a big, dark, ready man. Emily bought the rat poison, the arsenic, so the next day we all said, “She will kill herself”; and we said it would be the best thing. When she had first begun to be seen with Homer barron, we had said, “She will marry him.”  Because Homer himself had remarked-he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elk’s Club-that he was not a marrying man. When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray. Time passed, Miss Emily’s age was about 40, her front door remained closed, and Homer Barron disappeared. Each December we sent her a tax notice, which would be returned by the post office a week later, unclaimed. At the age of 74, Miss Emily died in one of the downstairs rooms, in a heavy walnut bed with a curtain, her gray head propped on a pillow yellow and moldy with age and lack of sunlight. Already we knew that there was one room in that region above stairs which no one had seen in many years, and which would have to be forced, and the time the violence of breaking down the door seemed to fill this room with pervading dust. A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room decked and furnished as for a bridal. The man himself lay in the bed. Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.

 

Phrase

Eyesore among eysores.-p57

They could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain.-p60

They broke open the cellar door and sprinkled lime there, and in all the outbuildings.-p62

When we saw her again, her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows-sort of tragic and serene.-p64

Thus she passed from generation to generation-dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.-p70

The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him.-p72

 

Bibliography

Masami Nishikawa., (1958), Modern American Short Stories (Second Series), Tokyo: Kenkyusha(日本語訳:福田実・島津昭訳、1974年、『昇る太陽に跪く・エミリーのための薔薇<双書・20世紀の珠玉>』、南雲堂)