The Truth Behind the Rose

The Truth Behind the Rose

Jocelyn Vigil

I don’t understand why em’ white folks coming around now, I’m sure them folks are coming to sneak around Old Miss Emily’s home and later on gossip, but I don’t blame em’, Miss Emily lived her life in secrecy. She never came out and if she did, she ain’t speak to any of em’ anyway. I remember watching the old women from this town, walking past Miss Emily’s home as if they were trying to figure out what’s going on, trying to ‘help’ in anyway, as if their pity can solve Miss Emily’s ache. I don’t think they really knew how much harm they did with em’ critiques Oh, Poor miss Emily. Only if she had someone to her own, since her father died two years prior perhaps is why she kept me here, to accompany her. After her father’s death  I noticed a change on Miss Emily, She barely went out, her attitude changed, I didn’t dare bring up any question to why, but I figured it was for that reason. Miss Emily restricted people going to her home; she ain’t want any visitors, probably because she didn’t want to remember anything? As time passed, a certain type of smell came about, I had to inform Miss Emily to that smell, but she quickly dismissed it, so I stopped questioning her about it.  Every time I went to the market place I would over hear how the women from town would say “Just as if a man—any man –could keep a kitchen properly”. Oh Please! It’s not like you clean your home yo’self, their servants do all the job! I overheard a neighbor of Miss Emily complaining to the Mayor Judge Stevens about the smell, she wanted Miss Emily out of her home! Mayor Stevens dismissed her idea and suggested it could’ve been just a dead animal. And as the days went by, the Mayor got several more complaints about the smell.

I figured that they might have kicked Emily out of her house but no, a couple of days later four strange men after midnight went across Miss Emily’s Yard to sniff where the smell came from, from what Miss Emily told me. Supposedly they went along the base of the brick wood and the cellar openings, and broke into her cellar and sprinkled lime around that area as if that would work, but apparently it did. I recall Miss Emily mentioning to me that she heard someone creeping around her yard, and that as soon as she heard it, she turned on the candle and sat quietly, but heard no mo’. She figured it might have been the neighbors trying to snoop around her house. I bet it was the men from the Board of Aldermen; those men couldn’t even have the courage to knock on poor Miss Emily’s door to figure out that problem. I had wished I found them that night; I would’ve scared them away! That would have made my night.

I remember how her father used to be, he would always scare away the men that wanted to court her, maybe he loved Miss Emily with all his heart, he wanted to protect her from any man. That man was a strange one, her father, I don’t know much about the mother, probably because she wasn’t really present at home. She had just turned thirty years old, right after her father died. I saw how saddened she looked that day of her father’s death. All that her father had left her was the house, and myself, it was now empty and I can feel the silence. It was only I and Miss Emily. I had left her alone to grief, but as soon as word spread around, all of those annoying, snooping ladies came to give their condolences.  Miss Emily quickly denied her father’s death,–I would’ve too! But then the law and the doctors were trying to dispose of the body oh so very quick. Three days later, she had to give in and she broke down as she saw her father being buried. I’d say she was broken and felt like she was lonely, I’d reckon that I would feel the same if my father had just died. I’m glad now that at least I was there for her and I didn’t leave her in her lone.

Soon after her father’s death, she encountered a man named Homer Barron; he was a foreman of some construction company that came to pave sidewalks in the town. I say it was about time that this town was getting a change. These two were a great pair, I would hear her say to me how happy and full of joy she was. I thought that finally she has found some joy in her life. I’m guessing soon after a couple of months went by , I was told by Miss Emily that I were to go to the drug store and pick up a special delivery and that once I had gotten there I were to go back into her house as fast as I could. I didn’t understand at the time, so I figured it was urgent. I did what I was told, I dare not question Miss Emily once, but I thought to myself what this box might have had. As I had gotten back, she quickly opened the box and from afar I saw what seemed like a skull drawn on the side. I figured it was poison for rats, but then I thought to myself that we don’t have rats here. A couple of days later, we had received two cousins of Miss Emily’s into her home. She was happy to see them, I over-heard them talking about Homer and other family situations, their visit was good for her. In the later days I saw Miss Emily buying a man’s toilet set in silver with Homers initials I think, and a complete outfit of men’s clothing. I thought these were gifts for Homer, so I thought. I overheard people gossiping that they were finally going to get married, I wasn’t sure about this one, probably because Miss Emily would have spoken with me. I felt that something strange was going on, I saw her as if she was hiding something, as a plan was soon to happen.

Her cousins had left town when Homer came back, everythin’ was quiet again as usual. Until Miss Emily came up to me and told me that she need me to go and find Homer and bring him to her, that she had something very important to discuss with him. I went to town that evenin’ and brought him into the house through the kitchen because the front door was locked for some odd reason and told him to wait while I fetched Miss Emily to come downstairs. Miss Emily went down stairs and greeted Homer, and went into the kitchen where I was at and told me to listen and do what I’m being told. It was odd for her to speak to me like that, because I always did what she had wanted me to do. But as she was talking to me, she slowly took out arsenic, and whispered “Pour this into this glass of lemonade you’ve prepared and offer it to Homer, and once you have given this to him do no more and go do your usual hose work, you got that Tobe?” I remember how surprised I was for me to hear this out of Miss Lovely Emily. As the only thing left for me to do, I nodded and said nothing. I took out another glass of lemonade for Miss Emily and poured the arsenic into Homer’s cup. As I went to give Miss Emily and Homers lemonade, I felt sad of what was going to happen to that poor man. I gave him his cup and looked into his eyes and saw the innocence of what was going to be of his death.

And that was the last I saw of him, years passed and I wondered why Miss Emily did what she did to Homer. I would still go out to market and buy the groceries as long as Miss Emily let me. It wasn’t the same as before, I felt like she had become someone that I did not know anymore. To kill a man and for me to be in it made me sick, I did all of her errands but I did not feel the same where I would speak to her like before. People had stopped asking her about her, because I stopped tellin’ em’ information.  Miss Emily got very ill, and was no longer with health. The day before she had died, she looked at me and with her eyes, looked above, steadily and then silently passed away. I know why she looked up, but I was scared to find out, I did not have the courage to open the upstairs bedroom. So now here I am, never to come back to a tragic home I once worked for. It is my time to walk away, I see no use of me in here nomore, I will leave the townsfolk to find out the truth of Homer Barron and poor Miss Emily.





In the short story of “A Rose for Emily” By William Faulkner, the story is told by a “Third Person Omni-present Narrator”. The retelling of A Rose for Emily will be “First Person Limited Narration”. In the original story, there was no known character that presented itself; the narrator only knew what was going on with the outside world, but not much on a selected few like Miss Emily. Tobe will be the known narrator because he was always near Miss Emily and was always in her home than anyone else.

I will be using Tobe as the First person limited narrator because it makes sense that since he lives and works for Miss Emily that he would be able to give a different side view and fill in some reasons of Miss Emily’s actions throughout the story. I want to start my narration here with tobe receiving the guests for Miss Emily’s funeral, but I want this character to begin his storytelling when Miss Emily’s father passed away. I want to write what goes on in Tobe’s head and of Miss Emily that hasn’t gone out of her home for a very long time. Tobe is first mentioned on section 2 of the story where the third person narrator goes back into the past and says “A few of the ladies had the temerity to call, but were not received and the only sign of life about the place was the Negro man—a young man then—going in and out with a market baske

In section 2, there was a smell developing in Miss Emily’s yard, the towns people and her neighbors complained about that smell, there was no action done, until one night some men went to sprinkle lime. I want the readers to know that Miss Emily knew about the smell, and dismisses it quickly. I want to use Tobe’s character to question Miss Emily if she knew anything about it, and observe her reaction towards it and their reactions towards the men sneaking around the home.  “So the next night, after midnight, four men crossed Miss Emily’s lawn and slunk about the house like burglars sniffing along the base of the brickwork and at the cellar openings while one of them performed a regular sowing motion with his hand out of a sack slung from his shoulder. They broke open the cellar door and sprinkled lime there, and in all the outbuildings.”

On the bottom of section 2, the original narrator mentions a old memory about Miss Emily’s father and how he had driven away all the young men that would have wanted to court her. “We remembered all the young men her father had driven away…” I want to use Tobe to give an insight on how her behavior was after her father died and not having anyone for companionship, being left alone in the home that he father left her. “When her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her….” Right after section 3, Miss Emily meets Homer Barron, the townspeople first were glad that she had found an interest after many years but then there were others who were criticizing her for having an interest that was a ‘Northerner’, a ‘day laborer’. In the original narration, we don’t get to read on what Miss Emily felt about Homer and the criticism that came with him. In the retelling, there will be a brief moment where the servant knows on Miss Emily’s thoughts towards her new interest.

The original narrator does not tell the real reason why Miss Emily goes into the drug store to purchase poison, nor does the narrator tell how she kills Homer Barron. But in my version of the retelling I want to add a bit of my imagination of what went on between her servant Tobe and Miss Emily. In the original story, the narrator only tells that she sent her servant to get the package, and look for Homer; we don’t get any more detail on what happens between the times when she receives the package of poison and the time where Homer disappears. “I want some poison, she said to the druggist. I want the best you have. I don’t care what kind. “Arsenic” said Miss Emily, I want some arsenic.” “The Negro boy brought her the package; the druggist didn’t come back. When she opened the package at home, there was written on the box, under the skull bones: “For Rats”.”  During that lapse of time, i want to add that the servant might have known what was going on with Miss Emily sending him to retrieve the package.

Lastly, the ending of the retelling will be with Tobe spending Miss Emily’s last moments alive, where she confesses to her servant where Homer Barron is since his disappearance. I want to end the narration back into the future where he leads the townspeople into Miss Emily’s home and walks straight out the house and was never seen again. “The Negro met the first of the ladies at the front door and let them in, with their hushed sibilant voices and their quick curious glances, and then he disappeared. He walked right through the house and out the back and was not seen again.”


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