What other characters--or what larger forces--are in conflict with Emily from "A Rose for Emily," besides Homer Barron?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1. The town itself is in conflict with Emily.  After the narrator begins with a brief description of Emily's funeral and family background, the first scene with Emily includes a group of the town's aldermen going to see Miss Emily about her unpaid taxes. Other incidents which pit the town against Miss Emily include the complaints about the smell emanating from her house, the town's reluctance to get involved when a young Emily is obviously being stifled by her domineering father, the town's pulling away from Emily the recluse even more when they stop sending their children to her home for lessons, and most importantly, the town meddling in Miss Emily's romantic relations by disapproving of Homer and sending critics to her house to dissuade her from continuing a relationship with him.

2.  Modern trends and policies also conflict with Miss Emily who represents tradition.  Many of the examples of this specific conflict are represented by the town's behavior when it comes to Emily, such as the town wanting Emily to pay taxes when she is used to being respected and having special privileges simply because of her family name.

3. Finally, Emily's relatives are in conflict with her. Although there is only a brief flashback to the "tableau" of Emily's father standing in the doorway to drive away all of Emily's suitors, this scene paints a very somber portrait of Emily's life growing up.  Likewise, Emily's relations have to come into town to convince her to stay away from Homer when she won't listen to the townspeople.

Really, the only person or element that does not seem to be in conflict with Emily Grierson is her servant Tobe.