In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," what stranger began to court Miss Emily in town?

1 Answer | Add Yours

herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In part III of William Faulkner's Southern Gothic story "A Rose for Emily", the townsfolk voice that is the narrator talks about the time when Emily Grierson's father died. This time represents perhaps the biggest trauma in Emily's life, as her father dominated nearly every aspect of her social life. As a result, Emily became emotionally co-dependent on her father to the point of not wanting to accept his death, and falling ill shortly after his burial.

The narrator talks about how, shortly after this occurs, a Northern (Yankee) construction company arrived in Jefferson; after all, Jefferson is entering the modern times, contrary to Emily, and changing altogether. However, it seems as if this sudden aesthetic attempt to modernize Jefferson somehow shines a light down on Emily, herself, for one of the construction workers who came in this group becomes her (unlikely) love interest.

 ..a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee--a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face... Presently we began to see him and Miss Emily on Sunday afternoons driving in the yellow-wheeled buggy and the matched team of bays from the livery stable.

The story is not specific as to how the courtship begins, but it is clear about why and how it ends. Homer Barron's motivations to court Emily are not clear in the story precisely because he is quite a shady character and nothing about him is believable. In contrast, however, Emily's tendency to become co-dependent flairs up again and it seems to take off full throttle: at some point Homer leaves, and then mysteriously returns days later to Emily's home. The narrator hints at the possibility of his being lured back with some form of motivation. Yet, Homer never leaves the home again. His carcass is found decades later laying on Emily's bed; the same bed where she has been sleeping next to it for years before she dies.

We’ve answered 317,443 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question