Analyze the relationship between Emily and Toby?What is your opinion of Emily's servant?

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lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Toby is an interesting character and we can't help but wonder what he knew and why he stayed until the day of Miss Emily's death.  I think it is completely reasonable to assume that Toby knew that Homer was dead in the bed upstairs and perhaps even knew that Miss Emily went up there to be with the dead body.  How could he not know that the horrid smell that had nieghbors calling for action was actually coming from the upper floors of the house he was responsible for?  Then you ask yourself why didn't he say something, do something, or just leave?  It must have been so awful!  But alas, what would a black man in the deep South at the turn of the 19th century truly have been able to do?  Report the death to the authorities?  He probably would have been lynched by the end of the day either accused of actually committing the crime himself or with having the audicity to accuse Miss Emily of such a horrific crime.  If he ran they might have assumed foul play.  Toby doesn't have many options.  On a more sympathic end, perhaps he felt sorry for Miss Emily in much the same way the townspeople did, and couldn't just leave her to her own means.  He stayed out a sense of duty and loyalty, much like the town does.  Either way, Toby is no fool.  He walks out that door at the first chance he has because he does NOT want to be there when the townspeople discover the remains of Homer in the attic.  Toby would have no answers that would satisfy them and he would be in as much danger then as he would have been the in the days it all happened.

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A Rose for Emily

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