Emily Grierson- The main character of the story. Her father kept her from seeing suitors and controlled her social life, keeping her in isolation until his death, when she is 30 years old.Her struggle with loss and attachment is the impetus for the plot, driving her to kill Homer Barron, the man assumed to have married her. She poisons and kills Homer as she sees this as the only way to keep Homer with her permanently. She treats him as her living husband even after his death, which is shown by her keeping his clothes in the room, keeping his engraved wedding items on the dresser, and the strand of her hair found beside his corpse at the end of the story that indicated she even slept beside him.

Homer Barron- Emily's romantic interest. He is later found dead and decomposed in Emily's bedroom after her funeral. He initially enters the story as a foreman for a road construction project occurring in the town. He is soon seen to be with Emily in her Sunday carriage rides, and it is expected for them to be married. Homer differs from the rest of the town because he is a Northerner. The story takes place in the South shortly after the Civil War, and while Homer is not necessarily unwelcome to the town, he does stand out. This, along with the fact that he is seemingly courting Emily, sets him apart from all of the other characters in the story. It is because he is an outlier that Emily becomes attracted to him. It is unknown if Homer fully reciprocates the romantic feelings Emily has for him.It is stated in the story that Homer likes men and is "not the marrying kind" and has commitment issues.

The Narrator- Unnamed. A presumed townsperson who watches the events of Emily's life unfold in its entirety. The story is presented to the reader in a non-chronological order; this suggests that the story may have been patched together by multiple tellers. Some parts of the story are repeated, such as Homer's disappearance, the idea that Emily and Homer will get married, and Emily's refusal to pay taxes, also indicating that the narrator is a voice for the tow

Colonel Sartoris - The former mayor who remitted Emily's taxes. While he is in the story very little, his decision to remit Emily's taxes leads to her refusal to pay them ever again, contributing to her stubborn personality. The reason for Sartoris remitting her taxes is never given, only that he told Emily it was because her father loaned the money to the town.

Mr. Grierson - Emily's father, the patriarchal head of the Grierson family. His control over Emily's personal life prohibited her from romantic involvement. The reason for his refusal to let Emily court men is not explained in the story. Whatever the reason, Mr. Grierson shapes the person that Emily becomes. His decision to ban all men from her life drives her to kill the first man she is attracted to and can be with, Homer Barron, to keep him with her permanently

The cousins - Emily's extended relatives from Alabama. They come to town during Emily's courting of Homer Barron to check on Emily's well-being. They are thought of as even more uptight and stuffy than Emily by the townspeople.They are called in to prevent Emily and Homer from marrying; however, they are later sent back home so that the two can be wed. It is speculated that there may be some type of dispute between Emily and the cousins, indicated by them living far away from Emily and the fact that they did not attend Emily's father's funeral.

Tobe - Emily's cook/gardener, who also acts as her family retainer. Tobe was loyal to Emily during her life and zealously respected her privacy. During the years of her isolation, he provided no details of her life to the townspeople.He promptly disappears directly following her death. He became old and stooped from all his work while Emily grew obese and immobile.

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