Miss Emily represents the traditions of the old South in the story. Much of her behaviour and the way people of the older generation treat her has to do with her heritage as a southern aristocrat and the town tradition of reverence for it. Colonel Sartoris, as an honourable southern gentleman, is part of that tradition, and thus helps her retain her pride and honour by creating a fictional account of the tax relief designed to help her financially. The men do not investigate the smell from Emily’s house because of their traditional sense of how to treat a well bred lady. Although we are not told Emily’s motivations, one assumes that part of the reason she kills Homer is that within her tradition, a man who drives alone in a buggy with a woman is committed to marry her, and if he does not, she is dishonoured.