In "A Rose for Emily," why does the negro servant answer the door and then leave out the back door when the women arrive?
I find this confusing because he has been with her for years and now that she has died, is he just going to leave? Was he helping her?
This is the traditional south, and the servant knows his place. He is leaving, and black servants remain relegated to rear entrances and exits, a reminder that they must defer to whites, and especially white women, who retain the privileges of the "front" in many aspects of life.
It is important to remember that this story takes place in the South, post-Civil War. A very simplistic answer could be that Miss Emily kept Toby as her servant, even after the Civil War. Her death may have been his only way of escaping into freedom.
Another (debated) idea is that although Toby remained a faithful servant to Miss Emily all those years, he would be the only living soul to have witnessed the remaining years of Miss Emily's life and be able to answer many of the questions posed by the townsfolk: What happened to Homer? Did Miss Emily in fact poison him? Was she sleeping with his body? What else happened in this house?
We as the readers are well aware of how nosey the townsfolk are, especially the women; therefore, they would have pestered him for a response. His means of escaping with Miss Emily's secrets intact came when and only when she passed away.