In "A Rose for Emily" who or what is the antagonist of the story? Why does the narrator use we instead of I?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is an interesting story, because there isn't a clear-cut "good guy" or protaganist, and "bad guy" or antagonist.  However, there are some negative or unfortunate factors that lead to the events that occur.  One force is the sheltered upbringing that Emily received; she relied too much on her father, and his rejection of "unworthy suitors" only ostracized Emily from a potentially healthy marriage and fostered her continued reliance upon him.  His death traumatized her so much that she didn't want his body to leave the house.  Because of her intense need for love and affirmation from a male figure in her life, no doubt fostered or created by her father himself, she takes extreme measures when it appears Homer Barron is also going to leave.  So, a combination of sheltered and over-protective upbringing, along with Emily's eccentricities, provided the fuel for future events.

Other possible antagonistic forces might have been gossipy neighbors, her micro-managing aunts, and the expectations of marrying "well" because of her gentility.  All of these probably aided in Emily's sense of desperacy, and the inabilitly to properly mourn the loss of a man no one else thought "worthy" of her station.

While no one person was an antagonist, all of these forces did lead to the eccentric actions taken by Emily in the end. And the narrator uses "we" because the story is told from the limited perspective of the townspeople.