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A Rose for Emily

14 Pages 3428 Words

A Rose For Emily
By William Faulkner
When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men
through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out
of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant--a
combined gardener and cook--had seen in at least ten years.

It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with
cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the
seventies, set on what had once been our most select street. But garages and
cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that
neighborhood; only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish
decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps--an eyesore among
eyesores. And now Miss Emily had gone to join the representatives of those august
names where they lay in the cedar-bemused cemetery among the ranked and
anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson.

Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary
obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the
mayor--he who fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the
streets without an apron--remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death
of her father on into perpetuity. Not that Miss Emily would have accepted charity.
Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily's father had
loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this
way of repaying. Only a man of Colonel Sartoris' generation and thought could
have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it.

When the next generation, with its more modern ideas, became mayors and
aldermen, this arrangement created some little dissatisfaction. On the first of the
year they mailed her a tax no...

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