In "A Rose For Emily," why is it implied that Homer Barron is gay?Is it because Faulkner is seeking revenge on a real-life Homer Barron? It was mentioned somewhere that he was seeking revenge on a...

In "A Rose For Emily," why is it implied that Homer Barron is gay?

Is it because Faulkner is seeking revenge on a real-life Homer Barron? It was mentioned somewhere that he was seeking revenge on a "Homer Barron" in his life, that harmed a friend of his which is why he made him gay in the story. I just cant find any information to back it up.

any help?

Asked on by asulli90

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

At the beginning of Part IV of the story, the townspeople remark that Emily will marry Homer Barron. Faulkner writes, "Then we said, "She will persuade him yet." because Homer himself had remarked---he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elk's club---that he was not a marrying man." The implication here is that Homer will not marry because he is gay. As Homer said himself he "likes men" and therefore will not marry Emily.

wheeler715's profile pic

wheeler715 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

That may be.  HOWEVER, let's not look at the story through the lens of the modern world.  The story takes place in the South in the 1930s.  Open homosexuality in the context of the story's setting would probably not be encouraged, to say the least.  The text reads exactly as follows: "When she had first begun to be seen with Homer Barron, we said, 'She will marry him.'  Then we said, 'She will persuade him yet,' because Homer had remarked--he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks' Club--that he was not a marrying man."  That doesn't automatically mean he is gay. Let's take the text at face value.  Perhaps he just prefers the company of men.  There are plenty of men who choose to not marry or have families.  That doesn't mean they are gay.  They date and have relationships, but fail to commit.  Now, if we put a contemporary spin on Faulkner's words, then a man who likes to hang out and drink with younger men and specifically states that he likes men, well that is hard to ignore.  Perhaps he is bisexual.  This brings up the classic example of how important it is to work with the text and only the text.  Faulkner may have written these lines without giving any thought to Barron's sexuality.  He may have wanted to just establish that there would be no way that Homer Barron was going to marry Emily Grierson or anyone else for that matter.  In this sense, we must view Barron as a "free spirit" and nothing more.  We have to be careful when discussing what an author "intends."  The text is the ultimate authority, and in this case, there is clearly more than one way to interpret Faulkner's words.  Ultimately, gay, straight, or otherwise, Homer Barron ends up absolutely dead!

whiteshark's profile pic

whiteshark | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

He's not gay. He's a yankee, and the folks who came down from the north at this time were carpetbaggers. They had no real interest in the "reconstruction" of the south; they just wanted to make $$$. Homer is the same way with women. He has no interest in committing to Emily. He just wants to use her for sexual gratification and then roll on home to New York or wherever he comes from.

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