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In "A Rose for Emily," why is Homer Barron in town?

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dew1111 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 24, 2009 at 5:15 AM via web

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In "A Rose for Emily," why is Homer Barron in town?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 24, 2009 at 5:47 AM (Answer #1)

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Homer Barron, Emily's supposed lover from the North in "A Rose for Emily" has originally come with a construction crew to work on sidewalks after the death of the last vestige of Southern gentility, Emily's father, has died. Soon thereafter, he has moved in with Emily.  Outraged that a blue-collar worker from the North should have the effrontery to think himself worthy of a Southerner lady such as Emily, her cousins from Alabama arrive to run off this upstart.  Homer leaves and the narrators assume that

he had gone one to prepare for Miss Emily's coming, or to giver her a chance to get ride of the cousins.

After a week, the cousins do, indeed, and Homer reappears "within three days....And that was the last we saw of Homer Barron."   The narrators do on to comment

Then we knew that this was to be expected too; as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman's life so many times had been too virulent and too furious to die.

In other words, the patriarchial Southern-gentleman father's domineering influence upon Emily is too much for her to be able to escape, even if the man is dead.  Interestingly, the events surrounding Homer's disappearance parallel those surrounding Emily's father's death:

...she vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell....we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.

And, so, after Homer returns after the three days--resurrection?--Emily again clings "to that which had robbed her" again; she kills Homer and keeps him in her home.  Certainly, the significance of this character's name cannot be missed. Barren and alone, poor Emily keeps Mr. Barron home.

 

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