What is the conflict in "A Rose for Emily"? If Miss Emily is the protagonist, who is the antagonist?

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If Miss Emily is the protagonist, it could be argued that one of the people standing in the way of her happiness—and therefore her antagonist—is Homer Barron . It would be easy to overlook a murder victim as an antagonist, but there is evidence that Homer was taking...

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If Miss Emily is the protagonist, it could be argued that one of the people standing in the way of her happiness—and therefore her antagonist—is Homer Barron. It would be easy to overlook a murder victim as an antagonist, but there is evidence that Homer was taking advantage of Miss Emily in some ways.

The narrator remarks that Homer himself had remarked that he preferred the company of men. He often could be found drinking with younger men in the Elks' Club. And he has remarked that he is not a "marrying man." So what is he doing spending so much time with Miss Emily? Likely, he enjoyed her relative status in society and was granted some free entertainment through Miss Emily, and it seems that he was stringing her along with no real intentions of a more serious commitment. I wouldn't argue that he deserved to be murdered, but it is possible that he confided in Miss Emily that he really didn't care about her in the way she expected before he left town. Thus, he presents as her adversary.

One of the central conflicts is Miss Emily versus herself. She has a hard time accepting change and reality. When her father dies, she refuses to acknowledge it. She seems to fall in love with Homer Barron, a man who is likely gay. When tax collectors come, she refuses to acknowledge that she owes money. To her credit, Miss Emily is convincing enough that society generally gives her what she wants, yet this supports the delusional reality that she creates for herself, ending in a solitary life with a dead man stored away in her bedroom for decades to further avoid facing the results of change.

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I think the primary conflict is Miss Emily versus society, though a secondary one is Miss Emily versus her father, and they are both inextricably linked. Miss Emily's father is her first antagonist, as he prevents her from marrying anyone during his lifetime—"None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such"—and then he dies, leaving her alone, older than the typical bride and fearful of abandonment in a changing world. She seems to have been in such denial over her father's death that she turned people away from her home for three days, telling them that he was not dead. The narrator says, "We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will." Even the town seems to recognize how Miss Emily's father's hopes for her were at odds with her own, preventing her from marrying someone who could comfort her as she aged.

Both her father and Miss Emily herself clung to an outmoded, antebellum Southern aristocratic ideal. The narrator describes the way in which the world had moved on, though Miss Emily and her father never really did:

garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps.

Like her house, Miss Emily represented an old "tradition" and "a duty" to the town. Like a relic from another era, Miss Emily remained the same while the rest of the South moved on. This is why society can be considered her primary antagonist, though she seems to take up with Homer Barron to spite both the townsfolk and her own, dead father, who would have hated the loud, laboring Yankee.

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One conflict found in Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily" is a Person vs. Society conflict between Miss Emily and the town of Jefferson. The townspeople criticize Miss Emily when she begins dating a northern named Homer Barron. The citizens disapprove of Miss Emily's relationship and even petition her relatives to persuade her to break up with Homer. Another conflict that takes place in the story is a Person vs. Person conflict between Miss Emily and Homer Barron. Miss Emily is traumatized after the death of her authoritative father and does not want Homer Barron to leave her. In order to prevent Homer from skipping town and breaking up with her, Miss Emily purchases arsenic and fatally poisons him.

While Miss Emily is clearly the protagonist of the story, she is also Homer Barron's antagonist. She is considered his antagonist because she ends up murdering him. One could also argue that the community members of Jefferson are also the antagonists of the story. They not only inflict unnecessary peer pressure on Miss Emily for dating Homer Barron but also spread unflattering gossip about her. Another argument can be made that Miss Emily is her own antagonist. Miss Emily's mental illness influences her to remain secluded in her home for an extended period of time and is a motivating factor to kill her lover and sleep with his corpse.

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To me, the conflict in this story is between Miss Emily and society.  That means that, for me, society is the antagonist.  I think you could also say that her father is an antagonist, but I think he's just representing society as a whole.

I think that the conflict is between society and Miss Emily because she is fighting against the expectations that society has for her.  The townspeople want her to do various things, but she rejects them.  Society in the form of her father also kind of ruined her life and led her to end up killing Homer Barron.

One other possibility is that Miss Emily is her own antagonist and that a major conflict is between her and herself.  She seems to be fighting with herself over whether she wants to have a life or whether she just wants to stay "safe" in her little cocoon of a world.

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