A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral葬礼: the
men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen倒下的 monument纪念碑, the
women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an
old man-servant--a combined gardener and cook--had seen in at least ten years. It was a big, squarish呈方形的 frame框架 house that had once been white,
decorated with cupolas圆屋顶 and spires and scrolled具有涡卷装饰的 balconies
in the heavily lightsome轻快的 style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select精选出来的 street. But garages车库 and cotton gins琴酒 had
encroached侵占 and obliterated闭塞的 even the august威严的 names of that
neighborhood; only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn顽固的 and
coquettish风骚 decay腐朽(衰落的 above the cotton棉花 wagons货车 and the
gasoline汽油 pumps泵-an eyesore碍眼 among eyesores. And now Miss Emily had gone to join the representatives代表 of those august威严 names where they lay in
the cedar西洋杉-bemused不知所措的 cemetery墓地 among the ranked and
anonymous无名的(没有特色的 graves格拉夫葡萄酒of Union and Confederate
联盟的soldiers who fell at the battle战斗 of Jefferson.
Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary
遗传性的 obligatio责任 upon the town, dating from追溯到 that day in 1894 when
Colonel上校 Sartoris, the mayor市长--he who fathered the edict法令 that no
Negro黑人的 woman should appear on the streets without an apron-remitted围裙；
汇 her taxes, the dispensation免除 dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity永久. Not that Miss Emily would have accepted charity仁爱(仁慈.
Colonel Sartoris invented an involved复杂难懂的 tale故事 to the effect that Miss
Emily's father had loaned贷款 money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred首选的(更好的 this way of repaying偿还. Only a man of
Colonel Sartoris' generation一代人 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市议员, this arrangement created some little dissatisfaction不满. On the first of the
year they mailed邮寄 her a tax notice通知. February came, and there was no reply. They wrote her a formal正式的 letter, asking her to call at the sheriff's office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to call or to send his
car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic古老的 shape, in a
thin薄的, flowing流动的 calligraphy书法 in faded褪色的 ink, to the effect that
she no longer went out at all. The tax notice was also enclosed封闭的, without
They called a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen市府. A deputation团
体代表 waited upon her, knocked at the door through which no visitor had passed since she ceased停止 giving china瓷器-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier. They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim暗淡的hall from which a stairway
楼梯mounted into装成 still more shadow阴影. It smelled of dust and disuse废止
--a close, dank smell. The Negro led them into the parlor客厅. It was furnished家
具 in heavy, leather皮革的-covered furniture. When the Negro opened the blinds 窗帘of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked有裂缝的; and
when they sat down, a faint微弱的 dust尘土 rose sluggishly缓慢的 about their
thighs, spinning纺纱 with slow motes微尘 in the single sun-ray太阳射线. On a
tarnished玷污的 gilt镀金材料 easel画架 before the fireplace壁炉 stood a
crayon蜡笔 portrait肖像 of Miss Emily's father.
They rose when she entered--a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain链子 descending to降到 her waist腰部 and vanishing消失 into her belt腰
带, leaning on an ebony 骨头突出的cane手杖 with a tarnished玷污 gold head.
Her skeleton骨骼was small and spare薄弱的; perhaps that was why what would
have been merely只不过 plumpness饱满度 in another was obesity肥胖 in her.
She looked bloated膨胀的, like a body long submerged隐匿的 in motionless静止
的 water, and of that pallid苍白的 hue色彩. Her eyes, lost in the fatty脂肪 ridges
皱纹的 of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump块 of
dough面团 as they moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand差使.
She did not ask them to sit. She just stood in the door and listened quietly until the spokesman came to a stumbling绊脚石 halt停止. Then they could hear the
invisible无形的 watch ticking枕套 at the end of the gold chain链子.
Her voice was dry and cold. "I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain获得 access访问 to the city records and
"But we have. We are the city authorities当局(权利, Miss Emily. Didn't you
get a notice from the sheriff郡守(司法长官, signed by 签署him?"
"I received a paper, yes," Miss Emily said. "Perhaps he considers himself the sheriff . . . I have no taxes in Jefferson."
"But there is nothing on the books to show that, you see We must go by the--"
"See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson."
"But, Miss Emily--"
"See Colonel Sartoris." (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) "I have no taxes in Jefferson. Tobe人名!" The Negro appeared. "Show these
So SHE vanquished打败 them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell.
That was two years after her father's death and a short time after her sweetheart爱人--the one we believed would marry her --had deserted抛弃 her.
After her father's death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all. A few of the ladies had the temerity鲁莽的 to call, but
were not received, and the only sign信号 of life about the place was the Negro
man--a young man then--going in and out with a market basket.
"Just as if a man--any man--could keep a kitchen properly得体的, "the ladies
said; so they were not surprised when the smell developed. It was another link between the gross肥胖的, teeming丰富的 world and the high and mighty强大的
A neighbor, a woman, complained to the mayor, Judge Stevens, eighty years old.
"But what will you have me do about it, madam?" he said.
"Why, send her word to stop it," the woman said. "Isn't there a law? " "I'm sure that won't be necessary," Judge Stevens said. "It's probably just a snake or a rat that nigger黑人 of hers killed in the yard. I'll speak to him about it."
The next day he received two more complaints, one from a man who came in diffident deprecation强烈不赞成. "We really must do something about it, Judge. I'd be the last one in the world to bother Miss Emily, but we've got to do something." That night the Board of Aldermen met--three graybeards老人 and one younger
man, a member of the rising generation.
"It's simple enough," he said. "Send her word to have her place cleaned up. Give her a certain time to do it in, and if she don't. .."
"Dammit, sir," Judge Stevens said, "will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?"
So the next night, after midnight, four men crossed Miss Emily's lawn 草坪and
slunk溜 about the house like burglars盗贼, sniffing 探查法along the base of the
brickwork砌砖 and at the cellar地下室 openings while one of them performed a
regular sowing播种 motion with his hand out of a sack袋子 slung from his shoulder.
They broke open the cellar door and sprinkled洒 lime石灰 there, and in all the
outbuildings附属建筑. 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直立的 torso
躯干 motionless as that of an idol神像. They crept悄悄的 quietly across the lawn
and into the shadow of the locusts蝗虫过境 that lined the street. After a week or
two the smell went away.
That was when people had begun to feel really sorry for her. People in our town, remembering how old lady Wyatt, her great-aunt, had gone completely crazy at last, believed that the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were. None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. We had long thought of them as a tableau绚丽的场景, Miss Emily a slender苗条的
figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled跨越 silhouette体型 in the
foreground前景, his back to her and clutching紧抓 a horsewhip马鞭, the two of
them framed框架 by the back-flung front door. So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated平反; even with insanity
精神错乱 in the family she wouldn't have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized具体化.
When her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her; and in a way, people were glad. At last they could pity Miss Emily. Being left alone, and a pauper贫民, she had become humanized人化的. Now she too would know the
old thrill and the old despair of a penny more or less.
The day after his death all the ladies prepared to call at the house and offer condolence同情(吊唁 and aid援助, as is our custom Miss Emily met them at the
door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief 悲伤on her face. She told them
that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose处置 of the body.
Just as they were about to resort to law and force武力, she broke down, and they
buried her father quickly.
We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away赶走, and we knew that with nothing
left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will. III
SHE WAS SICK for a long time. When we saw her again, her hair was cut short,
making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance相似 to those angels in colored
church windows--sort of tragic悲剧 and serene宁静.
The town had just let the contracts for paving块石面路the sidewalks人行道, and in
the summer after her father's death they began the work. The construction company came with riggers暗中操作者 and mules顽固 and machinery机械, and a foreman
领班 named Homer Barron, a Yankee--a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss诅
咒 the riggers, and the riggers singing in time to the rise and fall of picks选择.
Pretty soon he knew everybody in town. Whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square广场, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group.
Presently we began to see him and Miss Emily on Sunday afternoons driving in the yellow-wheeled buggy 马车and the matched team of bays from the livery stable.
At first we were glad that Miss Emily would have an interest, because the ladies all said, "Of course a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer体力劳动者." But there were still others, older people, who said that even grief could not cause a real lady to forget noblesse贵族阶级 oblige- -
without calling it noblesse oblige. They just said, "Poor Emily. Her kinsfolk亲属
should come to her." She had some kin in Alabama; but years ago her father had fallen out with them over the estate遗产 of old lady Wyatt, the crazy woman, and
there was no communication between the two families. They had not even been represented at the funeral.
And as soon as the old people said, "Poor Emily," the whispering began. "Do you suppose it's really so?" they said to one another. "Of course it is. What else could . . ." This behind their hands; rustling of craned silk and satin behind jalousies closed upon the sun of Sunday afternoon as the thin, swift clop-clop-clop of the matched team passed: "Poor Emily."
She carried her head high enough--even when we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity庄严 as the last
Grierson; as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness土质 to reaffirm重申 her
imperviousness顽固不化. Like when she bought the rat poison, the arsenic砒霜.
That was over a year after they had begun to say "Poor Emily," and while the two female cousins were visiting her.
"I want some poison," she said to the druggist. She was over thirty then, still a slight woman, though thinner than usual, with cold, haughty black eyes in a face the flesh of which was strained紧张 across the temples and about the eyesockets眼窝 as
you imagine a lighthouse-keeper's face ought to look. "I want some poison," she said.
"Yes, Miss Emily. What kind? For rats and such? I'd recom--"建议
"I want the best you have. I don't care what kind."
The druggist named several. "They'll kill anything up to an elephant大象. But what
you want is--"
"Arsenic," Miss Emily said. "Is that a good one?"
"Is . . . arsenic? Yes, ma'am. But what you want--"
"I want arsenic."
The druggist looked down at her. She looked back at him, erect竖直的, her face like
a strained紧张的 flag. "Why, of course," the druggist said. "If that's what you want. But the law requires you to tell what you are going to use it for." Miss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic and wrapped it up. The Negro delivery投递 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 skul脑袋
l and bones: "For rats."
So THE NEXT day we all said, "She will kill herself"; and we said it would be the best thing. When she had first begun to be seen with Homer Barron, we had said, "She will marry him." Then we said, "She will persuade him yet," because Homer himself had remarked--he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks' Club--that he was not a marrying man. Later we said, "Poor Emily" behind the jalousies固定百叶窗 as they passed on Sunday afternoon
in the glittering buggy闪闪发光的马车, Miss Emily with her head high and Homer
Barron with his hat cocked and a cigar雪茄 in his teeth, reins感情 and whip in a
Then some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people. The men did not want to interfere干预, but at last the
ladies forced the Baptist浸会 minister--Miss Emily's people were Episcopal主教
-- to call upon her. He would never divulge泄露 what happened during that
interview, but he refused to go back again. The next Sunday they again drove about the streets, and the following day the minister's wife wrote to Miss Emily's relations in Alabama.
So she had blood-kin under her roof again and we sat back to watch developments.
At first nothing happened. Then we were sure that they were to be married. We learned that Miss Emily had been to the jeweler's珠宝商的 and ordered a man's
toilet set in silver, with the letters H. B. on each piece. Two days later we learned that she had bought a complete outfit一套 of men's clothing, including a nightshirt
睡衣, and we said, "They are married." We were really glad. We were glad because the two female cousins were even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been. So we were not surprised when Homer Barron--the streets had been finished some time since--was gone. We were a little disappointed that there was not a public blowing-off吹净, but we believed that he had gone on to prepare for Miss Emily's coming, or to give her a chance to get rid of the cousins. (By that time it was a cabal阴谋, and we were all Miss Emily's allies同盟者 to help circumvent回避 the
cousins.) Sure enough, after another week they departed离开. And, as we had
expected all along, within three days Homer Barron was back in town. A neighbor saw the Negro man admit him at the kitchen door at dusk one evening. And that was the last we saw of Homer Barron. And of Miss Emily for some time. The Negro man went in and out with the market basket, but the front door remained closed. Now and then we would see her at a window for a moment, as the men did that night when they sprinkled the lime, but for almost six months she did not appear on the streets. Then we knew that this was to be expected too; as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman's life so many times had been too virulent 毒力and too furious暴怒的(激烈的 to die.
When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray. During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained实现 an even
pepper胡椒-and-salt iron盐铁-gray, when it ceased turning. Up to the day of her
death at seventy-four it was still that vigorous大力 iron铁-gray, like the hair of an
From that time on her front door remained closed, save for a period of six or seven years, when she was about forty, during which she gave lessons in china-painting. She fitted up a studio工作室 in one of the downstairs rooms, where the daughters
and granddaughters of Colonel Sartoris' contemporaries同时代 were sent to her
with the same regularity and in the same spirit that they were sent to church on Sundays with a twenty-five-cent piece for the collection plate. Meanwhile her taxes had been remitted汇.
Then the newer generation became the backbone骨干 and the spirit of the town,
and the painting pupils grew up and fell away and did not send their children to her
with boxes of color and tedious乏味 brushes刷 and pictures cut from the ladies'
magazines. The front door closed upon the last one and remained closed for good. When the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them.
Daily, monthly, yearly we watched the Negro grow grayer and more stooped, going in and out with the market basket. Each December we sent her a tax notice, which would be returned by the post office a week later, unclaimed无人认领. Now and
then we would see her in one of the downstairs windows--she had evidently显然
shut up the top floor of the house--like the carven雕刻 torso躯干 of an idol in a
niche凹进去的地方, looking or not looking at us, we could never tell which. Thus she passed from generation to generation--dear, inescapable不可避免的,
impervious顽固的, tranquil宁静的, and perverse倒行逆施的.
And so she died. Fell ill in the house filled with dust and shadows, with only a doddering老态龙钟 Negro man to wait on her. We did not even know she was sick; we had long since given up trying to get any information from the Negro He talked to no one, probably not even to her, for his voice had grown harsh苛刻
and rusty生锈, as if from disuse废止.
She died in one of the downstairs rooms, in a heavy walnut核桃 bed with a curtain,
her gray head propped on a pillow枕头 yellow and moldy发霉 with age and lack of
THE NEGRO met the first of the ladies at the front door and let them in, with their hushed, 发嘶嘶声 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. The two female cousins came at once. They held the funeral on the second day, with the town coming to look at Miss Emily beneath在????下方 a mass of bought
flowers, with the crayon face of her father musing profoundly above the bier棺材
and the ladies sibilant and macabre可怕的; and the very old men --some in their
brushed Confederate uniforms--on the porch门廊 and the lawn, talking of Miss
Emily as if she had been a contemporary of theirs, believing that they had danced with her and courted her perhaps, confusing time with its mathematical progression, as the old do, to whom all the past is not a diminishing road but, instead, a huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches, divided from them now by the narrow bottle-neck of the most recent decade of years.
Already we knew that there was one room in that region地区 above stairs which no
one had seen in forty years, and which would have to be forced强迫的. They waited
until Miss Emily was decently in the ground before they opened it. The violence of breaking down the door seemed to fill this room with pervading弥漫
dust. A thin, acrid刺鼻的 pall生厌的 as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room decked and furnished as for a bridal婚礼的: upon the valance 帷幔
curtains of faded已退色 rose color, upon the rose-shaded lights, upon the dressing table, upon the delicate脆弱的 array陈列 of crystal and the man's toilet打扮
things backed with tarnished silver, silver so tarnished that the monogram字母 was
obscured模糊. Among them lay a collar领 and tie, as if they had just been removed, which, lifted, left upon the surface a pale苍白 crescent新月 in the dust. Upon a
chair hung the suit, carefully folded; beneath it the two mute无声的 shoes and the
The man himself lay in the bed.
For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound深刻的 and
fleshless消瘦的 grin咧嘴笑. The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace拥抱, but now the long sleep that outlasts寿命长的 love, that conquers
征服 even the grimace of love, had cuckolded戴绿帽 him. What was left of him,
rotted腐烂 beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable无法摆
脱的 from the bed in which he lay; and upon him and upon the pillow beside him lay
that even coating of the patient and biding dust.
Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation凹进 of a head. One
of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint晕倒 and invisible无形
的 dust dry and acrid in the nostrils鼻孔, we saw a long strand缕 of iron铁-gray
1. When you first read the story, when did you realize how it would end? What is
your response反应 to the end?
2. After you read the ending, did your view考虑 of earlier scenes change, such
as the parts about buying poison and the odor气味? In retrospect回顾,
where are there hints提示 about the plot?
3. What is the conflict冲突 in this story?
4. In the beginning, Miss Emily receives a deputation代表团 from the Board of
Aldermen. We already know her attitude toward taxes before this. If this
anecdote轶事 does not advance前进 the plot or offer a clue to the eventual
story of Emily and her lover, what function功能 does it serve in the story?
5. In paragraphs 1 and 2, the author speaks of buildings and structures,
describing Miss Emily as a fallen monument纪念碑. Where else do related
images occur发生? If Miss Emily is a fallen monument倒下的纪念碑, what
is she a monument to?
6. Notice通知 references引用 to the Civil War in this story. Where do they
occur发生? How does that war play a role in the story?
7. In this story, an aristocratic高贵的 Southerner murders谋杀 a Yankee 美
国人carpetbagger美国内战后利用南方不定局势谋利的人. Is the story
about the triumph胜利 of a defeated打败 South over a supposedly据说
triumphant North? What is this story really about?
8. In paragraph 15, what do horse and foot mean? To what or to whom is Miss
Emily being compared here?
9. What do you think happened when the Baptist minister called on Miss
Emily? Is it important that you think you understand what happened? 10. Why are we not surprised when Homer disappears? How does the
storyteller讲故事的人 ensure确保 that we are not surprised?
11. After reading, reconstruct重进 the sequence连续 of events. When did
Homer Barron die? How did he die? Why is the story structured in the way
that it is?
12. Why do we need to know about Miss Emily's hair changing color? 13. Had Miss Emily really shut up the top floor of her house? Why does the
narrator say "evidently"显然?
14. What purpose is served by telling us that the Negro "walked right through
the house and out the back and was not seen again"?
15. Toward the end is a lyrical热情奔放的 and metaphorical隐喻 account of
the old people's sense of the past, a poetic kind of prose with which a
self-indulgent author will sometimes pad out a story or tease us by delaying
拖延 the resolution of our suspense悬念. What is Faulkner doing
here? Playing a trick on us? Does this image present an 两者择一的 or
parallel平行的 to anything else in the story?
16. Why did they wait until after the funeral to open the closed room? What
word in the story informs通知 you about the reasons for this delay? Is the
delay consistent with the world of this story?