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Is there any proof in "A Rose for Emily" that Tobe, Emily's servant, is loyal to her?

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dttl8694 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 13, 2013 at 4:24 PM via web

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Is there any proof in "A Rose for Emily" that Tobe, Emily's servant, is loyal to her?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 13, 2013 at 7:48 PM (Answer #1)

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If we judge Tobe's loyalty to the Griersons by his length of stay with the family, then his allegiance must be quite strong. We don't know if Tobe had also served while Emily's father was still alive, but he was employed by Emily as a "combined gardener and cook" shortly after Mr. Grierson's death--and while she was seeing Homer Barron. Tobe "was a young man then," and after Homer's disappearance, Tobe became the most visible person about the house, making his daily trip to and from the market. Tobe's greatest loyalty test centers around Homer. Shortly after Homer was seen for the last time--being admitted into the house by Tobe--a "smell" developed about the house. It was so strong that a committee of men secretly sprinkled lime about the property believing the smell to be that of a dead rat. Emily might have agreed, since the smell was that of Homer's decaying corpse. Tobe must have been aware of the smell--and quite possibly of the circumstances of Homer's death--yet he kept silent about it until the end. Emily must have trusted him, and she may have continued to employ him in order to keep her secret close. The secrets of the Grierson house remained that way until after Miss Emily's death, which signalled an end to Tobe's long stay. Now a "doddering" old man,

He walked right through the house and out the back and was not seen again.

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