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Modernizing

I wonder how this story would have been different if it happened today. People are more mobile, communication faster and more reliable, law enforcement techniques more efficient, and the willingness of authorities and communities to pry into other's affairs much greater. 

Emily might have been able to get away with holding her father's corpse for three days, but this is doubtful because the rest of the town knew he was dead. She would have probably had to spend some time in the padded room just for that. But this would be o.k. because afterwards she would have written a book about her experience and appeared on Oprah after it became a best seller. 

Even if she did get away with the father ordeal, she would definitely have been locked up and had her property confiscated for not paying her taxes. This too would have been o.k., though, because "60 Minutes" would have run a story on women behind bars for tax evasion. The resulting public outcry would have been  great enough to convince a movie producer that their was money to be made and Miss Emily could retire quite comfortably on the rights and/or royalties. 

But even if she somehow got away with both hiding her daddy's dead body and tax evasion she would definitely have been caught when Homer turned up missing. This would have been a worst-case scenario because then she would have been on one of those cop TV shows, being dragged away screaming something about how Homer was still alive while the "Bad Boys" theme song played in the background.

Was Emily modeled on an actual woman?  Ky (2001) suggests a connection between the fictional Emily and Emily Dickinson: "I just read an article about Faulkner and Emily Dickinson. Apparently her biography came out in 1929--one year before 'Rose' was published. The author [of the article] said it was a tribute to Emily Dickinson because Faulkner never could write good poetry."

H. M. of BSU (1999) seconds the idea: "Emily Grierson and Emily Dickinson maintain the same lifestyles. They are both shut-ins due to the loss of love in their lives. Both seriously disturbed and eccentric. Neither of their lives were brought to surface until their death. The time period fits this analysis also. Emily's first work was published in 1890, 30 years before Faulkner wrote 'A Rose For Emily.' He would have had plenty of time to read and appreciate this woman's sad yet eccentric work."