The town is developed as a character in the story.Explain how it functions as a character,paying special attention to its values,attitudes.

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story is told in the first person plural - "We" - so this enhances the idea that there is a group mentality going on. "We" is the voice of all of the citizens. Many of the paragraphs begin with "The town did this" or "The town thought this" so the idea is that the town represents the society in which Miss Emily lived, the Southern society post-Civil War. The town's values and attitudes are revealed collectively, as if the town really were a character. The reader learns that the town had sort of adopted Miss Emily:

Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town

Collectively, the town decided to ignore Miss Emily's taxes, making up a story it could live with:

Miss Emily's father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying.

Because the town needed the sidewalks fixed, they hired Homer Baron, who became Miss Emily's boyfriend:

The town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks, and in the summer after her father's death they began the work

But the town disapproved of her going about with him -- it was against their values:

Then some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people.

Miss Emily was not living up to their values, so they gossiped about her, then pitied her, but were always curious about her.

Read the study guide:
A Rose for Emily

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