In A Rose for Emily, what values are important to Emily?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From reading the story, the reader understands that Emily values tradition--her home, her way of living, her clinging to the past and what she has learned about being a "lady" from her parents and family members--all show this.

Emily also keeps Toby, her manservant.  This is part of the tradition of the deep south, but also of affluent families everywhere.  Wealthy people are accustomed to servants--regardless of the servant's gender or race.

Emily values the unwritten rules of the south and how a lady should behave, but she values being married more.  She disregards the rules about being alone in a carriage with a man...any man, but especially a YANKEE.  She disregards all of this for the opportunity to at last be married.

She also values her reputation.  We know this because she refuses to allow Homer to leave and be seen leaving--allowing her town and neighbors to talk about her even more than they already do behind her back.  She did not want "Poor Emily syndrome," so she visited the apothecary and procures a "rat" poison to take care of her problem and preserve her reputation.

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A Rose for Emily

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