Multiple characters appear in “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, but they are less defined than the main character, Emily. Out of them, we consider that Homer Barron and the townspeople (as a collective character) are also worth analyzing.
Homer Barron is a secondary episodic character in the short story, who is part of the main character’s life for a short period when she is in her thirties and reappears at the end of the narrative as a decaying corpse, as Emily’s victim.
From his outer characterization, we find out that he was a Northern laborer who came to town for a construction job and became involved with Emily:
Homer’s inner characterization presents him as a spirited man with a good disposition and humor: “Pretty soon he knew everybody in town. Whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group.”
The collective character of the townspeople represents the second most important character in the short story. This is because many times the story itself seems to be using the voice of the people of the town (or some of them) and because all of the plot is presented from their limited knowledge perspective about the characters of Emily, Homer or others.
As far as we can talk of an outer characterization of the townspeople, we can say that they are people from Jefferson, who are probably of lower status than Emily because they seem to envy her occasionally.
Also, several specific townspeople are individualized, but they change across time as the generations renew.
The defining traits of the townspeople regardless of which generation they belong to, however, seem to remain the same: curiosity and gossiping. Curiosity is described from the beginning of the short story as the people of the town gather at Emily’s funeral:
WHEN Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant--a combined gardener and cook--had seen in at least ten years.
The fact that the townspeople seem to observe, note and find out so much about Emily who is a solitary person, also indicates that they might be sometimes intrusive, over-curious.