“A Rose for Emily”

Why didn’t Emily marry Homer Barron or any other suitor after her father’s death?

In the story of “A Rose for Emily” William Faulkner, since Emily’s family was upper-class level, Emily’s father never wanted to let her daughter find herself a good suitor. Maybe he thought, no one was good enough to marry his daughter because Emily was very kind and soft girl.

” 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.”

When Emily’s father died, she decided to date with Homer Barron but she could not marry him. Was it maybe because of the town people gossiped saying that Homer Barron is not a match for her or was it, Emily, herself who got used to not being with someone else. But, she loved Homer Barron, she loved him so much that she ended up murdering him because she knew she couldn’t live with him yet she couldn’t live without him as well. Meaning, it was better for her that his dead body being next to her, she felt like he’s always with her. I think she is psychologically not right.

9 thoughts on ““A Rose for Emily”

  1. Muhammad Qasim

    I think that Emily did not marry Homer because he was believed to be a player, which means that he liked to use people for his own benefit. Emily loved Homer, but after hearing the gossips about her relationship with Homer, she probably felt that it was a disgrace to her respected family. Also, since Homer was a player, he may have refused to marry Emily. As you mentioned, Emily believed that the only way she can be with Homer forever was to kill him and keep his body. And I do agree, she is definitely psychologically not right. The reason for not choosing any other suitor can be that she didn’t like anybody else in the town, and Emily believed that Homer was the best option for her.

  2. Caitlynvalera

    I feel like Emily thought that she was trapped to stay with Homer. Emily didn’t really have options because the whole town perceived her to be weird and strange. Homer probably seemed like her only chance at love and i feel like she wasn’t to please everyone else’s expectations of being married. I also agree that Emily isn’t psychologically right and that if Homer was trying to leave Emily she wold do anything for to keep him. Emily didn’t know what love was so for her to think she has found that connection she probably didn’t know what to do when she started getting doubts about trusting him or started feeling distance.

  3. Jorge

    Yeah I had similar thoughts, that Emily felt she was trapped with Homer. With the town and their opinions of her she wasn’t left with many choices. She definitely has issues psychologically as her actions were extreme but justified in her own conciousness. It was a new experience for her though so she also didn’t really know what to do in a situation like that.

  4. Justin Liang

    I also agree with the agreement that Emily felt that Homer was the only one she could marry. I feel like ever since Emily’s father died her well being changed. This leading up to the fact that the people of the town thought differently about her. Upon hearing the things being said I too feel like Emily had no other choice at marriage besides Homer. Plus I feel like the fact that her father passed away she wasn’t in the right mind set and would do anything to keep Homer with her.

  5. Mahnoor Sheikh

    I feel that part of it had to do with how old she was at that point, I believe she was forty when her father passed away. And she was raised by elitist mentality, that the greatest thing to be is noble even if it was just a name and no power or wealth actually associated with it. Being raised with a certain mindset becomes ingrained in a person, because we get used to the routine. Emily’s father did not let her marry while he was alive. And once Emily’s father passed away she lost her families wealth, she could not lose the name too. But she could not deny that she wanted to be with Homer Barron, her actions of murdering him and keeping him in her home rotting in her sheets was the closest thing to marriage that she could do, while keeping her name. In some ways, I would argue that she did marry Homer in a nontraditional sense. If marriage is a union of two people until death, Emily just took it a step further into death.

  6. Yasmin

    Emily Grierson was in denial when her father died. For three days when townspeople had come to her door to give condolences, she’d tell them he wasn’t dead. At some point the narrator says, “We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.” When the narrator insinuates the denial of her father’s death being Emily’s necessary reaction, he also foreshadows the death of Homer. You all describe Emily being trapped between Homer and her reputation. Although that may be true, I believe Emily doesn’t know what love truly is. Being denied the right to be with any guy prevented her from knowing the standards and expectations of love. Having control and power her whole life, and not knowing what love is, created this illusion that killing him to be together forever was because she loved him. The murder was a manifestation of control and an act of love.

    1. Jody R. Rosen

      It’s great that you refer us to the scene when Emily denied her father’s death. Not only could she not deal with it, she refused for three days to let them remove his body from the home. Whether we could psychologize her to say that this started her on the path to keep Homer Barron’s dead body around, we can certainly read it as foreshadowing. Is that a term everyone is familiar with? If not, I encourage someone to use it for a glossary entry!

      It’s also important to think about how Homer was an outsider, and perhaps that’s the only kind of person Emily could be with, since everyone watched her so carefully and knew her past.

  7. Jhoanna

    In my opnion, Emily didn’t marry Homer Barron for the sole reason that she was probably turned down by him. Even though we didn’t really know if Emily bought the toilet and men’s clothing before or after the rat poison, I think this action of hers showed that she might’ve believed that Homer Barron’s going to propose and ask for her hand. She bought those items before Homer Barron could clearly lay it down that they’re not getting married. The marriage didn’t happen, thus making Emily move unto extreme measures, which is to kill him instead. That way, she get to be with the love of her life till the end. We can think that she was also probably furious when her marriage advances was turned down. I mean, she came from a well respected family who thinks high of themselves, so she could’ve taken that rejection as something offensive. At the end of the day, something’s wrong with Emily’s psyche, Homer Barron’s dead, and no holy matrimony for both.


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