In the short story "A Rose for Emily", why weren't there suitable suitors for Emily?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story never quite reveals whether there were suitable beaus for Emily or not. The reason is partly because Emily's father, Mr. Grierson, was a brash, intimidating man who raised Emily under a very tough guard and never let anyone go near his daughter. He is described as a man who essentially loomed over Emily while she would exist in silence behind him. The townsfolk narrator insists that there were never good enough men to befit the status of Emily and, as a result, the woman became sort of ostracized from the "normal" world. 

None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door.

The father's attitude really ruined all chances for Emily. Not only did he make the family stand out for its eccentricities by feeling "mightier" than others, but the lack of connection to the community made the Griersons divert the people's attention to the other issues in this enigmatic family, such as the fact that Old Lady Wyatt, Emily's great aunt, had gone insane.

All of these things came back to haunt Emily after the death of her father. Like the narrator says, even though these things were bad, Emily would have not just decided that everyone was bad for her. Yet, she already had this idea ingrained in her youth, and now she is a complete social misfit. 

So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated; even with insanity in the family she wouldn't have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.

Homer Barron, who was the man Emily was seen dating was a complete misfit as well. However, it is arguable that Emily saw in Homer someone that she could help to grow up, since he was such a brash, immature bachelor. So much was she drawn by this man that she could not bear the idea of letting him go, which is another aspect of her bad upbringing. Everything led to the tragedy that later on ensued. 

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A Rose for Emily

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