The two paragraphs relate the news of her death and reveal that she had the last grand house on a formerly grand street, establishing her status quickly. The remainder deals with the remittance of her taxes in 1894. When the next generation of town leaders attempted to rescind this, she allowed them into her musty home to insist yet again that she had no taxes in the county and to promptly show them out.
Next is an episode from thirty years earlier, concerning a noxious smell emerging from her house shortly after her boyfriend left town. Three neighbours complained, but the impropriety of telling Emily that she stuck was impossible to overcome. So, instead of investigating its causes, four men snuck onto her property after midnight and sprinkled lime in the basement and the outbuildings. It is then revealed that when he father died, Emily repeatedly refused to acknowledge her father had died two years before the smell incident and it took three days for her to finally release the body for burial.
Section III involves the first details of her boyfriend, Homer Barron. Because of the impropriety of a woman of her station driving around n a car with a blue collar worker from the North, the women in town gossiped madly. Around this time Emily went to the druggist and was allowed to purchase arsenic only because of the former status of her family. As the next section reveals, she did this while her cousins from Alabama, called to town by her neighbours, were in town. Emily bought men's clothing and a man's toilet set. As soon as the cousins left, Homer returned and was last seen entering Emily's house, and so began her almost self-imposed exile. With the exception of a brief stint of teaching porcelain painting to children, she did not leave the house and no one but her servant came in.
Finally, in the last section, the truth that has been falling into place so skillfully comes together. After the disappearance of the servant and her funeral, a door upstairs is forced. On the bed was Homer's decomposed corpse, and a grey hair on the other pillow made it clear Emily had lain beside him. Although this story structure was unique when it was originally published in 1930, it is the extraordinarily effective manner in handling the narrative and brings the reader further and further into the plot before the ultimate revelation.
This story is told from the outside, by an unnamed narrator who identifies himself with the town rather than Emily. Obviously from a younger generation, for him '"Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town" (Section I). Although he was not involved in the text or smell incidents, he did join the chorus of wondering what she would do with the arsenic and was part of the "we" that forced the door in the final episode. For him, and seemingly for the rest of the town, Emily was the product of another time, a faded Southern aristocrat to be pitied.
Trapped in her house, she was more something than someone. "Thus she passed from generation to generation--dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse" (Section IV). This vantage point for narration makes it painfully clear how alone and isolated this former grand dame is.