A Rose for Emily Questions and Answers
by William Faulkner

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Did Emily kill Homer in "A Rose for Emily"?

In "A Rose for Emily," Emily Grierson kills Homer Barron by poisoning him with arsenic. Emily, who represents those clinging to the traditions of the Old South, murders Homer in a desperate effort to hold tight to the past and reject nontraditional Northern thought. Following Emily's funeral, members of the town enter an unopened room in the old woman's house, where they find Homer's remains and one of Emily's "iron-gray" hairs beside it.

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In Faulkner's classic short story "A Rose for Emily," Miss Emily Grierson is portrayed as an eccentric, mentally unstable recluse who allows time to pass her by and symbolically represents the traditional culture of the Old South. Miss Emily grew up in a prestigious, wealthy family and was not allowed to date local men, because her father believed that she was too good for anyone. After Miss Emily's father passed away, she refused to recognize his death and lived as a recluse for an extended period of time. Eventually, Miss Emily left her home and began dating a Northerner named Homer Barron. Homer Barron is depicted as a fun-loving, carefree individual. According to the citizens of Jefferson, Homer seemed to like men and was "not a marrying man."

The older members of Jefferson's community frowned upon Emily's relationship with Homer Barron and said that she was forgetting her "noblesse oblige." Emily's judgmental neighbors felt like she was setting a bad example for the younger generation of women and tried to end their relationship. Unfortunately, Emily recognized that Homer Barron would never settle down and marry her, which is a possible explanation for why she decided to murder him. Emily then purchased arsenic and poisoned Homer so that she could stay with him forever. After murdering Homer, Emily slept with his corpse in the secluded upstairs room of her home, where the citizens eventually discovered his remains following Emily's funeral.

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