How is Emily betrayed and profiled in each section of the story?

Expert Answers
podunc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The reader views Miss Emily exclusively through the eyes of the people in her town: 

In Section I, we are told that the town does not mourn Miss Emily's death; she had long been a "care" and a "hereditary obligation upon the town."  Emily had expected the town leaders to honor their predecessor's waiver of her taxes, and they did not want to do so.

In Section II, the townspeople begin to pity Miss Emily. They are disgusted by the smell of her house but cannot bring themselves to confront her directly. They are also smugly glad that Miss Emily does not inherit any money after her father's death so she can "know the old thrill and the old despair" of being poor.

In Section III, the town looks down on Emily for spending time with Homer Barron. He is only a foreman of a construction company, and is "beneath" Emily socially.

In Section IV the town continues to judge Emily for her relationship with Homer, but for different reasons. They believe that she is "setting a bad example" by having an unmarried man under her roof.

In Section V, when Homer's body is found, there is, ironically, no judgment from the town. We are told that "for a long while [they] just stood there" looking at the rotted corpse. For the first time, they are speechless. 

Read the study guide:
A Rose for Emily

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question