What was the townspeople's reaction to the relationship between Emily and Homer?

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The townspeople had always had a great interest in Emily Grierson, almost to the point of insatiable curiosity. She represented the fading Old South, stubbornly clinging to attitudes and actions that others had left behind. 

Her domineering father had refused to let her have suitors; supposedly no one was...

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The townspeople had always had a great interest in Emily Grierson, almost to the point of insatiable curiosity. She represented the fading Old South, stubbornly clinging to attitudes and actions that others had left behind. 

Her domineering father had refused to let her have suitors; supposedly no one was good enough for his daughter. Father and daughter lived in relative isolation with their servant Tobe

When Emily's father dies (a fact she denies for three days), she rarely leaves her house. But eventually she meets Homer Baron. Homer was a Northerner who had come down South to lay sidewalks. 

Instead of being happy that Emily has a beau, the townspeople are concerned. He is a Northerner, which is a strong strike against him in the townspeople's opinion. He is also a day laborer, which means he is of a lower social class than Miss Emily is. Essentially the townspeople decide that Homer is not a good match. Not that it was really any of their business, but that avid curiosity kept their interest piqued.

The people of the town decide that the relationship should end, and so they send the minister of the local church in to speak to Emily about it:

“The men did not want to interfere, but at last the ladies forced the Baptist minister--Miss Emily's people were Episcopal-- to call upon her. He would never divulge what happened during that interview, but he refused to go back again.”

We never find out exactly what Emily said to the minister. She continued to see Homer, and so the ladies wrote to Miss Emily’s cousins asking them to stay with Emily and convince her to break off the courtship. Shortly after this, they believe Homer and Emily will marry, and they are actually happy because they want to be rid of the cousins who “were even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been.”

But when Homer disappears and Emily becomes a total recluse for a long period of time, they expected that as well. They believed Emily had been dumped by Homer and was withdrawing from public scrutiny. Like her father, they thought Homer had crushed any romantic dreams Emily may have had.

 

 

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