The purpose of this research is to investigate the short
a story "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner, with a view toward clarifying a single, important issue of plot: what really went on in the upstairs room. The plan of the research will be to set forth the salient points of the story, and then to discuss the opinions of various scholars regarding the plot at issue.
"A Rose for Emily" was Faulkner's first published short
story, appearing in 1930, four years after his first novel,
Soldier's Pay (Brooks, First Encounters 5). The tale is simple
and straightforward, apparently told through the eyes of a minor
civil servant in Jefferson, Mississippi who is explaining what
people in town had gossiped about and what he himself witnessed,
with regard to Miss Emily Grierson's life and death. Spinster
member of one of the first families of the town, Miss Emily for a brief time appeared to have been on the brink of marrying a
Yankee fellow. Then, unaccountably he disappeared, leaving her
alone. About the same time, a mysterious odor emanated from her
house for a few weeks, but disappeared. Over the years, Miss Emily gradually secluded herself from society. Upon her death, the townsfolk discovered in her upstairs bedroom the decomposed body of her erstwhile putative fiancTe and evidence that she had been the bed partner of the body for many years.
Much of the action of "A Rose for Emily" concerns specula-tion about Miss Emily's activity behind the upstairs window. Miss Emily's figure framed in the window is one of the key haunting images of the story. The narrator, along fellow towns-folk, sees her looking down from that window from time to time, especially when they sprinkle lime around the house to alleviate the bad smell coming from there: "As they recrossed the lawn, a window that had been dark was lighted and Miss Emily sat in it, the light behind her, and her upright torso motion-less as that of...