Who is the main character in "A Rose for Emily"?

It can be argued that the main character in "A Rose for Emily" is Miss Emily. The narrative follows her life and her struggles and developments. However, it is also quite possible to argue that the first-person plural narration makes the narrator or the townspeople as a whole the main character, as Faulkner's choice of perspective creates a distinct separation between Emily and the community in which she lives.

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This is an interesting question with two possible and perhaps equally defensible answers. One could argue that Miss Emily Grierson is the main character of the story, certainly; however, one could also argue just as persuasively that the narrator is the main character of the story.

Obviously, the narrative details...

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This is an interesting question with two possible and perhaps equally defensible answers. One could argue that Miss Emily Grierson is the main character of the story, certainly; however, one could also argue just as persuasively that the narrator is the main character of the story.

Obviously, the narrative details many events of Miss Emily's life, from her youth through her father's death and her relationship with Homer Barron to her development into an old woman who fits in with society even less than she did as a young woman. We see the conflict between her and her father as a young woman as well as the conflict between her and society as she grows older. However, we equally witness the reactions of the townspeople to her presence, or lack thereof, and by the time the climax of the story occurs—when the narrator describes how the townspeople discover the moldering corpse of Homer Barron in Miss Emily's bed—Miss Emily is already dead herself.

In many ways, we are encouraged to identify with the narrator more than with Miss Emily, who has closed herself off from the rest of society, and the reader's tendency to relate to the narrator helps lend credibility to the idea that the narrator is actually the story's main character rather than Emily herself.

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