In the story "A Rose for Emily", by William Faulkner, what is the significance of the mention of Old Lady Wyatt and Miss Emily's cousins?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Old lady Wyatt is mentioned but never actually appears in William Faulkner's short story, "A Rose for Emily." Wyatt is Emily's kin from Alabama, and she has apparently suffered from mental instability since she is referred to as "the crazy woman." It is significant since it can be inferred that mental disease runs in the family, and that Miss Emily may also have inherited it and may be suffering from it. The cousins, relatives of old lady Wyatt, appear in the story when they visit Miss Emily during her affair with Homer Barron, hoping to convince her to end the relationship. They had had "a falling out" with Emily's father over the family estate in Alabama, but Emily's condition was deemed important enough for the cousins to be summoned (by the preacher's wife, who had contacted them). The cousins remained in Jefferson for a week, but after they left, Homer immediately returned.

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