A Rose for Emily Parts IV-V Summary

     Part four begins with the townspeople speculating that Emily is going to commit suicide based on her recent purchase. She had continued to see Homer Barron even though it was widely thought that he liked men, and he had admitted he wasn't the marrying type. The townspeople thought it was a bad example for the young people, so they sent a minister to speak with Emily, but he refused to go back to talk to her ever again. Later, they learned that Emily had bought a toilet set engraved with the letters H.B., so they speculated that they would marry after all. When Homer left, the people thought he had gone on to prepare for Emily's Homecoming, and they were glad. Her cousins departed, and Homer returned to town. That was the last they saw of either one of them for awhile. They would occasionally see Emily at the window as they did the night they poured the lime around her house, but that was all.

     When next they saw Miss Emily emerge from her house, she was fat and grey-haired. Around age forty, she briefly gave china painting lessons in her house, but after several years, she stopped. As she aged, they saw her only through the windows on the main floor, she had evidently closed off the second floor of the house. Finally, she died. They had not even known she was sick.

     Part five begins with her African American servant letting in some ladies and then walking out of the house without a word never to return. The two cousins came, and the funeral was held the second day. There was a room upstairs, which they could not open. They waited until Emily was properly buried, then they forced the door. A thick layer of dust covered everything, including a man's toilet set and men's clothes laying on a chair as though they had just been removed. In the bed lay the man. Nearly fleshless, he had rotted into the mattress still wearing a nightshirt. On the pillow beside him they found an indentation of a head with a long grey hair sitting on it.

     This conclusion leads the reader to believe that Emily was crazy as the townspeople said many members of her family were known to be. Perhaps Emily was a necrophiliac. She seemed to have some sort of obsession with dead bodies whether sexual or not. The title is interesting because a rose is generally a flower representing love, which Emily seemed to want but not often find. In the end the rose could be for her death instead. The story deals with time by manipulating the chronology of her life and showing how Emily is stuck in the past in many ways.

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