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In "A Rose for Emily," if Miss Emily is the protagonist, who is the antagonist?

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shy-24 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 15, 2008 at 12:44 AM via web

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In "A Rose for Emily," if Miss Emily is the protagonist, who is the antagonist?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2008 at 1:11 AM (Answer #1)

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If one were to name an antagonist, I think it would have to be the Old Southern Traditional society. Emily, as a member of a family with high social standing, has certain expectations placed on her by society. She is not expected to work, but to marry well and have a family. However, he father prevented her marriage to anyone while he was alive. He leaves he little money and she is no longer young when he dies. Thus, the expectations of the town are really unrealistic. When she takes up with Homer Barron, everyone expects they will marry in spite of his statement that he "likes men." This puts Emily is a real bind. She has no money, a boyfriend who won't marry her and a town who expects her to marry. Yet they provide little support and much judgement about her behavior. Therefore, there is little wonder she took matters into her own hands and lost some of her sanity because no one took the time to approach her on a close level.

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