2. Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.
These lines end the story. Emily’s secret, finally revealed, solidifies her reputation in the town as an eccentric. Her precarious mental state has led her to perform a grotesque act that surpasses the townspeople’s wildest imaginings. Emily, although she deliberately sets up a solitary existence for herself, is unable to give up the men who have shaped her life, even after they have died. She hides her dead father for three days, then permanently hides Homer’s body in the upstairs bedroom. In entombing her lover, Emily keeps her fantasy of marital bliss permanently intact.
Emily’s excessive need for privacy is challenged by the townspeople’s extreme curiosity about the facts surrounding her life. Unsatisfied with glimpses caught through doorways and windows, the townspeople essentially break into the Grierson home after Emily’s death. Convincing themselves that they are behaving respectfully by waiting until a normal period of mourning has expired, they satisfy their lurid curiosity by unsealing the second-floor bedroom. There is no real moral justification for their act, and in light of their blatant violation of Emily’s home and privacy, Emily’s eccentric, grotesque behavior takes on a layer of almost sympathetic pathos. She has done a horrible, nightmarish thing, yet the confirmation of the townspeople’s worst beliefs seems sad, rather than satisfying or a cause for celebration.