What does Homer Barron's name represent in "A Rose for Emily"?

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pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The name Homer Barron can be interpreted within the context of the story, "A Rose for Emily", as the author's sublime way of telling the reader that this man is trouble for Emily.

"His relationship with Emily is considered scandalous because he is a Northerner and because it doesn't appear as if they will ever be married. In fact, it is known that he drinks with younger men in the Elks’ Club and he has remarked that he is not a marrying man."

The man is a thief who steals Emily's heart, as in Robber Baron, one who acts in an unscrupulous manner in business.  And, the fact that he is a homosexual, "Homer" play on words or a reference to the ancient Greeks where homosexuality was openly practiced in society.

"Faulkner based part of the character of Emily on a cousin, Mary Louise Neilson, who had married a Yankee street paver named Jack Barron."

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kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Homer is the Greek epic poet who historians suspect wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey.  Of more importance and relevance, however, is the last name Barron.  If we look up the word "baron," we find that it means a person with the lowest grade of nobility (www.dictionary.com).  Although Homer Barron was definitely NOT nobility, he WAS of a lower social class than Miss Emily and their relationship was controversial because of the difference in their social classes.  He was a Yankee, too, which was also controversial for the townspeople.   

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