A Rose for Emily


William Faulkner

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Miss Emily Grierson

A proud woman born to a highly respected Southern family, Miss Emily seems frozen in the past, bearing herself aristocratically even when she is impoverished after her controlling father’s death. Though her thoughts and feelings… read analysis of Miss Emily Grierson

The townspeople

The story is narrated by “we,” the townspeople in general, who also play a role in Miss Emily’s tragedy. The townspeople respect Miss Emily as a kind of living monument to their glorified but… read analysis of The townspeople

Homer Barron

The “big, dark, ready” foreman of a construction company that arrives in Jefferson to pave the sidewalks, Homer is from the North but nonetheless becomes popular in town, a social drinker at the local Elks’… read analysis of Homer Barron

Miss Emily’s father

A proud Southern gentleman, controlling of his daughter, who thinks that no suitor is worthy of her hand in marriage. As a result, she never does marry when he is alive, and is close to… read analysis of Miss Emily’s father

The Baptist minister and his wife

Scandalized by the relationship between Miss Emily and Homer, some ladies in town coerce the Baptist minister into speaking with Miss Emily. He does so; and the day after their meeting the minister’s wife… read analysis of The Baptist minister and his wife
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Colonel Sartoris

The mayor of Jefferson in the 1890s, Sartoris is a representative of the old genteel per-Civil War South (he was a Confederate Colonel in the war). Sartoris passed a racist law that forces black women… read analysis of Colonel Sartoris
Minor Characters
The druggist
Sells Miss Emily arsenic even though she does not comply with the law requiring “‘you to tell what you are going to use it for’,” as he puts it.
Miss Emily’s two female cousins
Even haughtier than Miss Emily is, these cousins come from Alabama to Jefferson to live with Miss Emily and oversee her conduct, presumably to make sure that she doesn’t violate their Southern society’s strict code of propriety while she and Homer are romantically involved with one another.
Judge Stevens
The mayor of Jefferson some time after Sartoris, Judge Stevens receives complaints that Miss Emily’s property is issuing a bad smell, but, so as not to humiliate the woman, he dispatches men to investigate the smell in secret and to neutralize it by spreading lime around Miss Emily’s property.
Miss Emily’s black servant.
Miss Emily’s great aunt; according to the narrator, she went “completely crazy,” and in this her fate foreshadows Emily’s own.