In "A Rose for Emily", how does the character and background of Emily Grierson differ from those of Homer Barron? What general observations about the society Faulkner depicts can be made...

In "A Rose for Emily", how does the character and background of Emily Grierson differ from those of Homer Barron?

What general observations about the society Faulkner depicts can be made from his portraits of these two characters and from his account of life in this one Mississippi town.

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emily Grierson was a woman who had been brought up with the values of the Old South. He family, once evidently prominent, had lost its money but not its social standing. "When her father died, it got around that the house was all that was left to her." However, she retained her pride and refused to pay taxes, claiming Colonel Sartoris had remitted them. As a remnant of the old upper class Southern society, Emily did not communicate with others in the town. Her so-called lover, Homer Barron is described as a construction foreman and "a Yankee". Unlike Emily, "pretty soon he knew everybody in town." And he seemed to be very happy, The narrator says that "whenever you heard a long of laughing,,,Homer Barron would be in the center of the group. Thus, the two seem opposites and the ladies believed " a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer." However, the townspeople did not consider how lonely Miss Emily must have been nor how she would refuse to take "no" for an answer. Thus, Faulkner makes us consider the human toll of being a member of the old Southern establishment. Emily was alone, poor and unmarried. However, she was also used to getting her way. So when a "Yankee" dared refuse her, even though he "liked men", Emily simply takes matters into her own hands. Since the townspeople are used to leaving her alone, she also gets away with murder, both literally and figuratively.

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A Rose for Emily

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