In "A Rose for Emily," did Emily and Homer really have an affair? Is there any evidence that Homer is gay?

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sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Homer is a day-laborer, a foreman with a consruction company who "cusses" and associates with the black people in town. As for an affair, he certainly courts her, and this appalls the town community for they see Emily going beneath herself to give him any attention at all. All of the information we receive comes from the narrator who relays gossip, so precisely what Emily and Homer did in her bedroom before his death we don't know--except that she did admit him into her  house through the back door, implying secrecy.  We can infer that she kept his dead body in  her house for quite a while, and the narrator tells us at the end of the story they find his clothes folded on a chair and what was left of Homer's dead body lying as if in an embrace on the bed, and that next to him lay a grey hair, presumably Emily's. She might have put him there upon murdering him, or she might have been sleeping with him for quite some time.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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I believe that they did.  Homer is described as very popular.  Faulkner writes,  "Whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group.  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."

I think he uses his magnanimous personality to lure Emily to bed, and once he has the notch on his bedpost, he dumps her.  The argument can be made that once again, Emily has been severly underestimated and this betrayal pushes her over the edge. 

As for the gay thing, I have never considered this a possibility; I still don't see it despite a brief once-over of the story.  Perhaps someone else can comment on this angle. 

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roush's profile pic

roush | eNotes Newbie

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It seems to me that he is gay.First that quoted sentence already brought up. Second why would Emily kill him if he loved her.Third if they were in love then there would be no reason from them to keep it secret as they could get married and it would be over.Also isnt it curious why toby whos only job were standard chores would sneak homer in?

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utprosim | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Emily and Homer definitely had an affair- it's not a big dispute. Emily didn't kill him just for the heck of it. Evidence about the conditions of the room, rumors of his departure, indications of his noncommitment and witnesses of their time together are all evident in the story.

Homer is decidledy not gay. That is a modern implication forced o the text and it is completely unsubstantiated. The statement that he liked men had nothing to do with his sexual preference, but his company. This is typical of this time, that men would spend time together, especially when it came to drinking. Homer was just not interested in marriage. In addition, if the narrator even suspected such a radical thing about Homer, you would know it. Such a scandelous and very anti-Southern norm would be noticed and duly noted about an already intruding Northerner. To say Homer is gay is deconstructionism at is finest. The text does not support such a claim in any way.

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bear70 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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It is implied that Emily had a brief affair. She loved Homer as she had loved her father although she knew Homer had different sexual preferences.

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msnina | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Secction IV plainly states "Homer himself had remarked-he liked men, and it was know that he drank with the younger men in the Elks'  Club-that he was not a marrying man." 

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