In the short story "A Rose for Emily", who is Homer Barron? When does he disappear?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In William Faulkner's Southern Gothic short story "A Rose for Emily", the character of Homer Barron is a Yankee who came with a construction crew to the town where Emily lived to work on a major reconstruction project.

Faulkner's description of Barron is not sympathetic. Some scholars argue whether Barron is meant to represent Northerners as they are seen through the eyes of Southerners, who are barely coming back (at the historical setting of the story) from the Civil War. Nevertheless, the image that the reader gets is quite negative.

a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee-a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss ...Whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group.

Shortly after his arrival at Jefferson, Barron seems to get a liking to Emily only to, shortly after, being found at the community club showing another side of himself. This is after the townsfolk had an inkling that the relationship was headed for something serious.

Homer himself had remarked-he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks' Club-that he was not a marrying man.

The type of narrative prevents the reader from pointing out exactly when Homer dissappears. However it is implied that it is around half a year (5-6 months) after the relationship began. We know this because of the amount of time Barron's project was going to take, and the fact that the construction crew left after a "few months".

By then, Emily has made her plans: she gets the poison, lures Homer back (this is when the witnesses see him the last time being received by Tobi, and then he dissappears. This is when she finally gets to keep him forever.