When Miss Emily’s father died Tobe was worried about her. “God knows how this poor woman will survive without her father,” he muttered to himself.” He had worked as the Grierson family servant since Miss Emily was a little girl. He never knew her mother. When she became a young lady he could not understand why her father never allowed any of the men who were interested in her to court her. It seemed in the eyes of Mr. Grierson, no man was good enough for her.
“Tobe,” Mr. Grierson would say. “Show this young man to door.” This happened several times.
The young men would fidget nervously with their hat and would manage to say, “thank you for your time Mr. Grierson,” as if showing Mr. Grierson respect would change his mind.
He and his daughter had a close bond. Now that he was gone Miss Emily was alone, husbandless and with no family or friends in town, this meant she was bound to be lonely.
He watched her sitting next to the bed on which her father took his last breath. His body still lay there. He could hear her whispering, “father!” “Father!” “Can you hear me?” “Please wake up.” Several hours after Mr. Grierson’s death he cautiously approached her. “Miss Emily,” he said, “should I fetch the coroner to take the body now.” She turned her head and tears ran down her cheek. Then she spoke with anger. “No one is to touch my father!” she screamed. “No one,” “Do you hear me Tobe!?” It was as if the grief she felt was making her mad. He had never seen her so upset before. “Alright Miss Emily,” was all he said.
The women folk from town came calling on the second day. With great effort she manage to pull herself together. When she met them at the door she was well dressed and very composed. They had no idea the grief and pain she was feeling. No one was admitted inside the house. After Tobe opened the door she would look her visitors in the eye and in a curt voice she would say, “my father is not dead.”
One day after she abruptly closed the door she sat down in the parlor and wept. Through her sobbing she said, “Tobe, I am alone.” “Why did he have to leave me?” He was unsure how to respond. He was not use to her expressing her personal feelings to him. Finally he said, “I am here Miss Emily, you are not alone.”
On the second day the ministers and doctors were admitted in the house by Tobe. They did their best to persuade Miss Emily to let them bury her father. She would not relent. Just as they decided to use the law to force her to release the body Tobe appeared at the coroner’s office. “Miss Emily is ready to bury her father.” Was all he said.
It was not an easy task for Tobe to get Miss Emily to relent. “This is wrong Miss Emily,” he said to her earlier that morning. “Your father need to be put to rest.” She turned from her position at her father’s bedside. He saw the grief in her eyes, but he also saw that she was more subdued. “You are right Tobe,” she had said. “Fetch the coroner.”
It took him days to get the smell of death out of that house. Miss Emily never acknowledge the smell. It was as if it did not bother her one bit.
After she buried her father she became a recluse, barely leaving the house. Tobe heard some of the gossip when he went to town on errands for her. “That’s her negro,” they would say. “Did you hear?” a woman said in the grocery store, “she is broke.” The other woman chimed in, “I heard all he left her was that old house.” As the conversation continued he heard yet another woman saying. “The Griersons always act like they’re better than us, now she will see what it’s like to live like the rest of us.” “Poor Miss Emily,” they all said in unison.
In his mind he visualized himself going up to these women and defending Miss Emily. He would tell them what a wonderful person she was. Of course he could not. He was her servant and there were different rules for people of his race.
One day while they were inside, a noise from outside interrupted the silence of that big old house. “What’s going on Tobe?” she asked. “Oh Miss Emily it’s that man Homer Barron cussing those Niggers.” “Who?” She said. “Homer Barron,” he repeated. “He is out there with some niggers paving the sidewalks.”
“Tobe!” she yelled as the noise became even more bothersome. “Fetch me my hat.” He was surprised she wanted to go out and quickly fetched her hat. He opened the door for her and watched as she ventured to the gate.
He was unsure about the conversation that transpired but when she came back inside, he thought he saw a faint smile on her face, something he had not seen in years.
He was shock when the doorbell rang that Sunday and Homer Barron stood there.
He had seen him in town on many occasion since work started on the pavements. From what he knew he was the foreman of the contracted construction company. He was a Yankee, a big, dark ready man. He had a big booming voice and eyes lighter than his face. He was charming. The ladies liked him, the little boys followed him around and the men respected him. Everyone knew Homer Barron.
Tobe! He said with hat in his hand. “I am here to call on Miss Emily.” Tobe was unsure what to say, but he quickly recovered and said, “wait here.” He closed the door. He was surprised all over again when he saw Miss Emily well dressed and wearing her favorite hat coming down the stairs. Her face looked bright, she was beaming. “She looks happy.” He thought to himself. Despite the fact that she seemed to be expecting Homer Barron Tobe still informed her. “Miss Emily, a Mr. Homer Barron is at the door.” “Thank you Tobe,” she said as she waltz through the door he held open for her. He watched as he held her hand to help her into the yellow horse drawn buggy.
This became a routine. Every Sunday Homer Barron came by with the horse buggy to pick up Miss Emily. The women in town now had new events to fuel their gossip machine. Many were happy for Miss Emily. Even Tobe was happy. He noticed Miss Emily was in a pleasant mood since she started to spend time with Homer Baron.
It seemed the town folks especially the women could not make up their minds, this minute they were happy for Miss Emily and the next minute they gossip about her relationship. They felt it was not a good example for the young girls in Town for Miss Emily to spend so much time with Mr. Barron without a chaperone. They forced the minister to speak with her. Tobe admitted him. At the end of his speech about moral standards Miss Emily merely said to him. “What goes on in my life is nobody’s business.” Then she summoned Tobe and said, “kindly show this gentleman out.”
A few weeks later when her cousins showed up at her house she was upset and told them in no uncertain terms that they too should stay out of her affairs.
By that time all the sidewalks had been paved and Homer Barron left town. No one knew what to make of it. After all the whole town thought they would be married.
Even Tobe thought they were to be married. He had seen them together and saw how happy they were in each other’s company. When Tobe picked up a man’s toilet set and men’s clothing and a night shirt that Miss Emily had ordered, he felt sure they were to be married.
The cousins left town and sure enough Homer Barron returned. That Sunday he took Miss Emily on a buggy ride just like old times.
Tobe saw her when she returned to the house. She did not look happy. “Are you alright Miss Emily?” he asked. She did not reply. Next day she insisted that she have to go to town. She returned with a package from the drug store. She placed the package in the kitchen. Tobe could not resist opening the package. He read the label out loud, “for rats.” He was puzzled because he had not seen rat in the house for a long time.
One day at dusk Homer Barron came for supper. Tobe admitted him through the kitchen door. He could not understand why he did not use the front door. “Hi Tobe.” “Miss Emily asked me to use the kitchen door.”
When Tobe walked by the parlor he overheard Homer Baron talking to Miss Emily. “It’s the same as we discussed before,” Homer said. “I am not ready to get married.” Miss Emily was quiet for a moment then with grace and dignity she rose and looked at Homer. “Would you like something to eat,” she asked.” She excused herself and went to the kitchen. She returned later with a tray.
As they ate she did her best to seem light hearted, but deep down she was hurting. After the meal Homer Barron just sat there as if he could not move.
“Tobe!” Miss Emily said, “Take Mr. Barron upstairs to his room.” He knew exactly which room she spoke of, for earlier that day she had asked him to lay out all the items she brought for him in that room.
The next day he thought Homer had left town. He brought Miss Emily her breakfast. Her faced looked sad and withdrawn. It reminded him of when she lost her father.
He noticed the room he had put Homer Barron in was locked with a key.
Then the smell started. At first it was faint like when Mr. Grierson died. Then it got strong and overpowering. It was the smell of death he thought. He was not sure what to make of it. Sometimes she would open the door to the room she had set up for Homer and stay there for a long time.
The smell went away in a couple of months. Tobe was glad. He was too old to track down where that smell was coming from.
After that Miss Emily never went out again. She got older and frail from lack of fresh air and sunlight.
When she took sick and died Tobe felt sorry for her. She had not experience the joy of marriage and family. He left soon after her death. He had family in another town he would be staying with. He did not go to the funeral and he was not there when they broke open the door to Homer Barron’s room and found the man lying there. Strands of grey hair and the impression of Miss Emily’s body was on the bed. Poor Emily, she could not have him in life, but she certainly had him all to herself in death.
Retelling of the story “A Rose for Emily” in First person narrator
Two Men in My Life
I am Emily and I live in a small town where my father has influent in old generation and he is also influent my life when I was in younger age by not allowing any young men in town to approach me. Because of him, many town people in the community believe I am pride and stubbornness. Some saw me as very distant person and living in the past. I believe I am a very strong person never change my mind and give up what I want to do.
I loved my father because he was the only man that I met in life until he died and at the same time I hated him so much for bringing me up so lonely and not thinking long enough for my future if he was unable to accompany me one day . He believes that none of the young men were quite good enough to me. Now, I am all alone by myself in this old house with nothing left. How should I do with this big old house with no one to talk to? The complex feeling of love and hatred to my father strike me so hard that caused me sick for a longtime after his death. Although I have two cousins in Alabama, we were not too close due to the estate of my great aunt when my father was alive. Furthermore, they didn’t even show up at my father’s funeral and I am not close enough to them to talk about my feelings. The fears, the loneliness and sleepless night cause me sick for a long time but I do not want the town people to see my weakness since my family has a reputation in town and I don’t want people take advantage on me since I am alone and I have to protect the dignity of my family’s tradition and myself.
I met him in the summer after my father’s death. His name was Homer Barron. He was a Yankee–big, dark skinned with a loud voice. He was a construction foreman who came to the town with the construction company for pavement of the town sidewalks. After I met him, I felt myself like a different person and the most enjoyable time of my life. The most memorable time for me was spending the time with him on Sunday afternoon driving in the yellow-wheeled buggy around the town despite of the gossip of the town people and the warning of the minister that I made a bad example to the young people. He also gave me the type of joy that I ever had and I was dreaming and planning of the upcoming my wedding.
After the street sidewalk construction have finished, I thought he gave me opportunity to ask my two female cousins to leave the house and he will be back within a couple days for preparing our wedding. He did back in town after three days my cousins left.
All my dreams and happiness were not last for too long when he said to me that he cannot marry me. He said he enjoys drinking with young men in the Club and he was not the type of marrying person. He is the man that I love most in my life after my father. I hate him as if I never met him in my life and at the same time I don’t want to lose him forever. I must decide to do something so he will with me the rest of my life whether dead or alive. I went to the drug store to buy the best available poison. The local law requires buyer to tell for which purpose use, but I don’t want to answer and just said give me the arsenic then I saw “for rats” on the package.
I have prepared one room above the stair for our wedding. Inside the room, everything was set up for bridal including rose color curtains, rose-shaded lights, dressing table, man’s toilet silver sets, men’s outfit clothing including the nightshirt. I want the man I love to lay on my wedding bed for ever. I will have opportunity to fulfill my wishes to sleep next to him who is alive or not. Since my health gets deteriorating, I know I will not live longer soon. I will leave unanswered question as question mark for the poison that I bought and the corpse that people will find in one room of my house after I die because I don’t like to admit that I committed the crime.