Why does Emily's servant in "A Rose for Emily" stay knowing Emily keeps a dead body in her home?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We aren't sure why; the limited perspective of the collective townspeople that narrate the story doesn't give us a close look at the servant.  There are only brief mentions of him, and no clues to his motivations for staying.  He is the only one that stays, and basically runs the entire house; the townspeople judge Emily for letting a man run the kitchen, and blame the smell after Homer's death on his alleged poor housekeeping skills.  But no clues as to why he stayed.  The only thing we get in the entire story is immediately after he lets people in when Emily dies:  "He walked right through the house and out the back and was not seen again."  It is telling that the very second that people are there to take care of Emily's body, he leaves.  No word, no packing, nothing.  As soon as he possibly can, he bails.  So, whatever his reasons for staying, he was most likely not happy in his position, and waiting for his chance to get out of there.  That's the only clue we have in the entire story, and we have to glean what we can from it.  I hope that helps a bit!

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A Rose for Emily

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