Give the short description of all characters in "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner.

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," the major characters are the narrator, Emily Grierson, Homer Barron, and Emily's father, although there are some other minor characters in the story.

The narrator remains unnamed throughout the story and takes on the first person plural voice of neighbors/spectators in the town.  The narrator knows much about Miss Emily's family background and is interested to see how her life turns out.

Emily Grierson is the daughter of a long line of Griersons who have lived in the town for generations.  Emily now lives alone since her father passed away some years ago.  She has one caretaker who looks after the yard and house, but she herself is rarely seen outside.  Emily is described as a lonely woman who was sheltered for much of her life by her father. 

Homer Barron is the man with whom Miss Emily eventually falls in love.  Homer is a worker from the North, so he does not know much about Emily's past.  One day, he decides to end their relationship, but Emily has other plans, and the end of the story suggests that she murders him.

Finally, Emily's father was very protective of his daughters and drove away any suitors that she might possibly have.  As a result, she continued living with him until he passed away.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would add to the previous post that for a short story, the characters in this one are so complex.  The most important character is Miss Emily, and while she may be lonely, she is also a murderer!  She buys arsenic and makes sure that Homer doesn't leave her -- she is desparate for love and company.  The final detail of the story, the long gray hair on the pillow, suggests that she slept with the corpse of Homer for at least a couple of years after his death.

The narrator seems to be of the younger generation and knows that he has a great story to tell.  In giving us a stream of consciousness narration, we learn all the details, but don't learn the full weight of Miss Emily's story until the narrator wants us to, in the final lines.  He manages to create a sympathetic character in Miss Emily, even though we are shocked by her actions.  The other characters of the story all highlight the plight of Emily.  Her father was over-controlling; Homer was "not a marrying man;" her servant was loyal because a Negro in this time period knew better than to get mixed up in the murder/disappearance of white man. 


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A Rose for Emily

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