A Rose For Emily and Other Short Stories

A Rose For Emily and Other Short Stories Character List

Sarty Snopes

The protagonist of "Barn Burning." He is "small for his age, small and wiry like his father, in patched and faded jeans even too small for him, with straight, uncombed, brown hair and eyes gray and wild as storm scud."

Abner Snopes

The father of Sarty Snopes in "Barn Burning." He walks stiffly from an injury in which "a Confederate provost's man's musket ball had taken him in the heel on a stolen horse thirty years ago." His defining characteristic is that he burns the barns of the men whose land he lives on, driven by a "ravening a jealous rage." His family is constantly moving from tenant farm to tenant farm because of his tendency to destroy their reputation in the towns they live in. The narrator describes the impression he has on other people as:

There was something about his wolflike independence and even courage when the advantage was at least neutral which impressed strangers, as if they got from his latent ravening ferocity not so much a sense of dependability as a feeling that his ferocious conviction in the rightness of his own actions would be of advantage to all whose interest lay with his.

Sarty's sisters

The sisters of the Snopes family in "Barn Burning" are described as "broad, lethargic." They are "bovine," with "flat loud voices" that "emanate an incorrigible idle inertia." Though they are twins, "either of them now gave the impression of being, encompassing as much living meat and volume and weight as any other two of the family."

Lennie Snopes

Sarty's mother in "Barn Burning." She and Sarty's aunt, Lizzie, disapprove of Abner Snopes, her husband, burning barns. Lennie constantly begs Abner to stop, but he ignores her.

Lula de Spain

The wife of Major de Spain in "Barn Burning." She wears "a gray, smooth gown with lace at the throat and an apron tied at the waist and the sleeves turned back." She is home when Abner Snopes tracks horse droppings across the expensive carpet in her home, and asks him to please go away.

Major de Spain

The land owner in "Barn Burning." Abner Snopes tracks horse droppings across his expensive rug while he is not at home, and later he drops it off for Abner to fix. After Abner destroys it further, Major de Spain returns and says, "It cost a hundred dollars. But you never had a hundred dollars. You never will." These words characterize him as elitist.

Pete Grier

Pete is the narrator's older brother in "Two Soldiers." When Pearl Harbor is bombed, he is compelled by an indescribable force to leave his family and go to Memphis to enlist in the Army. He is described from his little brother's perspective, and it clear that he loves the narrator and his parents, and does his best to console them when he must leave to go to war.

The narrator of "Two Soldiers"

We never learn the narrator's name in "Two Soldiers." He is eight years and ten months old, and loves his brother Pete so dearly that he follows him to Memphis where Pete has gone to enlist in the Army. He is defensive, and twice reacts by pulling out his pocketknife when people try to stop him from finding his brother. The narrator doesn't understand why he cannot go, but finally listens to Pete when Pete comes to meet him in Memphis and says he has to go home.


The narrator's mother in "Two Soldiers" doesn't understand why her son, Pete, has to go to war. But though she cries, she doesn't try to stop him. She reminds him that his blood is worth as much as anyone else's before he leaves.


The narrator's father in "Two Soldiers" is described as his young son as "still behind, just like he had been ever since me and Pete had knowed him" on sowing his land. He discourages his older son from going to war, but in the end gives him a handshake and a dignified farewell.

Mr. Foote

Referred to by the narrator of "Two Soldiers" as "the Law," Mr. Foote tries to help the narrator when he finds him in Jefferson. He brings him to the bus depot, and calls Mrs. Habersham. He eventually gives the narrator a sandwich to eat.

Mrs. Habersham

In "Two Soldiers," she comes to the bus depot in Jefferson to help the narrator. She tries to make a case history about him, but ends up just buying his bus ticket to Memphis.

Mrs. McKellogg

In "Two Soldiers," she is called to the Army office to take care of getting the narrator home from Memphis. She brings him back to her apartment and introduces him to her husband, Colonel McKellogg, and orders him dinner. She tells him that she has a son about his age in a school in the East. Then she calls him a car, driven by a soldier, to take him back to Frenchman's Bend.

Miss Emily

In "A Rose for Emily," Miss Emily is characterized by the narrator, who represents the voice of the town of Jefferson.

Before her death, when the Board of Aldermen call upon her to ask for her taxes, she is "a small, fat woman in black" who looks "bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand."

But the narrator remembers her at the time right after her fathers death, when she goes to the druggist to buy arsenic, as "over thirty then, still a slight woman, though thinner than usual, with cold, haughty black eyes in a face the flesh of which was strained across the temples and about the eyesockets as you imagine a lighthousekeeper's face ought to look."

After Homer Barron's disappearance, the narrator describes how when the townspeople next saw her, six months later, "she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray. During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt iron-gray, when it ceased turning."

Colonel Sartoris

In "A Rose for Emily," he is representative of a generation past. The reader never meets him, but rather he is used as a benchmark of a time in which Miss Emily is stuck. He remitted her taxes after her father died.


The "Negro" servant of Miss Emily in "A Rose for Emily," who is the only person to enter and leave the Grierson house for many years. The narrator notes that "he talked to no one, probably not even to her, for his voice had grown harsh and rusty, as if from disuse."

Homer Barron

Miss Emily's sweetheart in "A Rose for Emily," whom she seems to have murdered with arsenic before their wedding, and whose body she let rot upstairs in her house until her own death.

Alive, he was "a Yankee - a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face." The narrator notes that "whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group." He was the foreman of the construction company that was paving the sidewalks of Jefferson.

The narrator of "A Rose for Emily"

The narrator is the voice of the townspeople of Jefferson, never identified as male or female. He or she is sympathetic to Miss Emily, though the opinion of her changes slightly during different periods in her life. By the end of Part V, the narrator seems to have lived his or her life alongside Miss Emily, to have gained the perspective with which he tells her story.


The main barber in "Dry September." He is described as "a man of middle age; a thin, sand-colored man with a mild face." He consistently defends Will Mayes against the angry white men who accuse him of raping Miss Minnie Cooper, but ends up being unable to stop them from killing him. He stops actively trying to stop them after Will Mayes accidentally slashes him with his handcuffs.

Miss Minnie Cooper

The woman whom Will Mayes is accused of raping in "Dry September." She is thirty-eight or thirty-nine, "of comfortable people," and "on the slender side of ordinary-looking, with a bright, faintly haggard manner and dress." She is characterized by that "bright, haggard look" that accompanied her realizing she has become an old maid.


In "Dry September," he is very vocal about wanting to get revenge on Will Mayes, however unwarranted. He is "a hulking youth in a sweat-stained silk shirt," and repeatedly calls Hawkshaw a "niggerlover."

The drummer

One of the clients in the barber shop in "Dry September." He is a stranger, but joins McLendon in the hunt for Will Mayes on the empty argument that "I don't live here, but by God, if our mothers and wives and sisters-"


The main perpetrator in "Dry September," who leads the gang of white men to kill Will Mayes. "He had commanded troops at the front in France and had been decorated for valor." His violent, irrational streak is not only demonstrated in his desire to find Will Mayes and kill him, but in the way he abuses his wife.

The cashier in the bank

In "Dry September," he dates Miss Minnie Cooper for a while. "He was a widower of about forty- a high-colored man, smelling always faintly of the barber shop or of whisky." He moved to a Memphis bank eight years before the setting of the story.

Will Mayes

In "Dry September," he is accused of raping Miss Minnie Cooper, and killed by a gang of white men in the town. He is a night watchman at the ice plant.

Quentin Compson

The narrator of "That Evening Sun." He is nine years old at the time of the story, though as the narrator, he is twenty-four. This age is not in accordance with Quentin's fate as a character in The Sound and the Fury, in which he drowns himself at the age of nineteen. Quentin is also a character in Absalom! Absalom!

Caddy Compson

Quentin, the narrator's, little sister in "That Evening Sun." She is very inquisitive and spunky, always ready for an adventure. She is also a central character in The Sound and the Fury.

Jason Compson IV

Quentin, the narrator's, little brother in "That Evening Sun." Though he is just a scared little boy in this story, in The Sound and the Fury he proves to be quite a sadist.

Jason Compson III

The father of the narrator, Quentin, and Caddy and Jason IV, in "That Evening Sun."

Caroline Compson

The mother of the narrator, Quentin, in "That Evening Sun." In her appearance in The Sound and the Fury, she is a habitual complainer; that characteristic is apparent in "That Evening Sun," as she complains every time her husband leaves her alone to walk Nancy home.


Nancy's husband in "That Evening Sun." He is forbidden to come to the Compson house. Nancy is terrified that he will kill her after discovering that she is pregnant with a white man's child. He is described as "a short black man, with a razor scar down his face."

Mr. Stovall

In "That Evening Sun," he kicks out Nancy's teeth after she asks him to pay her for having sex with him. He is the cashier of the bank and a Baptist deacon.


The black servant of the Compson family in "That Evening Sun." After she becomes pregnant with a white man's child, she is terrified that her husband, Jesus, will kill her.


The Compson's cook in "That Evening Sun." She is sick for the majority of the story, which is why Nancy must come and cook for them.

Three Basket

One of the Indians in "Red Leaves." He is about sixty years old, squat and paunchy, with hair "like sedge grass on burnt-over land."


The Indian chief who has just died in "Red Leaves." He became proprietor of the land at age nineteen when his father, Doom, died.

Louis Berry

The second Indian in "Red Leaves," who converses with Three Basket.


Issetibbeha's father in "Red Leaves." He is described in an anecdote by the narrator, in which the story of how the Indians came to own slaves is revealed. He became friends with the Chevalier Soeur Blonde de Vitry in New Orleans, then killed his own uncle and cousin to become du homme, or "the Man."

The Chevalier Soeur Blonde de Vitry

In "Red Leaves," he was Doom's friend and patron in New Orleans. When Issetibbeha visits him in Paris, he is an old man "in a toupee and a corset, with a careful toothless old face fixed in a grimace quizzical and profoundly tragic."


The Man, or chief, in "Red Leaves." He has killed his father, Issetibbeha, to become the Man. He tries to squeeze his feet into the shoes with the red heels that his father brought back from Paris, to conform to European ways, but they don't fit. At age twenty-five, he was already "diseased with flesh, with a pale, broad, inert face and dropsical hands and feet." Five years later, when the story takes place, he is "maybe an inch better than five feet tall, and he weighed two hundred and fifty pounds. He is motionless almost all the time, and has difficulty breathing. The narrator comments that he "might have been dead himself."

Francis Weddel

In "Lo!" he is the half-Chickasaw, half-Frenchman chief of the Chickasaw Indians. He is described as having "a soft, bland, inscrutable face - the long, monk-like nose, the slumberous lids, the flabby, cafe-au-lait-colored jowls above a froth of soiled lace of an elegance fifty years outmoded and vanished; the mouth was full, small, and very red." However, behind his "expression of flaccid and weary disillusion," there lurks "something willful, shrewd, unpredictable and despotic."

He demands that the President personally hold a trial for his nephew, who may or may not have murdered a white man.

In "Mountain Victory," we learn through his son, Major Saucier Weddel, that he died in the Mexican War.

The President

In "Lo!" the President is not named, but very closely resembles Andrew Jackson. When he catches his own face in the mirror, he sees "the face of the shrewd and courageous fighter, of that well-nigh infallible expert in the anticipation of and controlling of man and his doings, overlaid now with the baffled helplessness of a child." He has been brought to helplessness by Weddel/Vidal, who has led his people to Washington and encroached upon the President's space.

The Secretary

In "Lo!" he, along with the President, must hold a fake trial in order to "absolve" Weddel/Vidal's nephew and convince the Indians to return to the west side of Mississippi.

Francis Weddel's nephew

In "Lo!" he probably killed a white man for tricking the Chickasaw people into selling him the land at the entrance to the ford. He is a "young, lean" man who shows little emotion.

Captain Bogard

An American pilot in "Turnabout." He is "not tall," and his face is "thin, a little aquiline; the eyes intelligent and a little tired."


An English midshipman in "Turnabout." He is described as "possibly eighteen, tall, with a pink-and-white face and blue eyes, and a mouth like a girl's mouth."


In "Turnabout," he is the midshipman that accompanies Hope on his missions. Bogard notices that "there was something stolid about the very shape of his hunched shoulders, his slightly down-looking face... it was the face of a man of twenty who has been for a year trying, even while asleep, to look twenty-one." He doesn't speak much.


Buck Monaghan's boss at the car dealership in "Honor." He is "frog-eyed" with "a ruby ring the size of a tail-light," and Buck almost sets a record by working for him for three weeks.

Miss West

Reinhardt's secretary in "Honor." Buck describes her as "a good kid."

Buck Monaghan

The narrator of "Honor." He is a wing-walker by profession, after having been a pilot in the war, and has an affair with his coworker's wife, Mildred Rogers.

Mildred Rogers

The woman whom Buck Monaghan loves in "Honor." She is married to Howard Rogers, and is very depressed and emotional about the poverty she and her husband live in.

Howard Rogers

In "Honor," he is Buck Monaghan's stolid coworker. He accepts that Buck is having an affair with his wife, Mildred, and doesn't seem upset in the least by it. He saves Buck's life by dragging him in off the wing of the airplane, and makes Buck his son's godfather.

Elnora Strother

The black servant of the Sartoris family in "There Was a Queen." She loves Aunt Jenny but regards Narcissa with resentment and suspicion. It is revealed in the beginning of the story that she is the mixed-race daughter of Colonel John Sartoris. She is described as "a tall, coffee-colored woman with a small, high, fine head."

Aunt Jenny

In "There Was a Queen," Virgina Sartoris (Aunt Jenny) is ninety years old, and is resigned to a wheelchair. She arrived in Mississippi in 1869. She is described as "a thin, upright woman with a delicate nose and hair the color of a whitewashed wall."

Benbow Sartoris

The son of Narcissa and the late Bayard Sartoris in "There Was a Queen." He is ten years old in the story, and though Aunt Jenny refers to him as "Johnny" after his uncle, the other household members call him "Bory."

Narcissa Benbow

The wife of the late Bayard Sartoris in "There Was a Queen." She lives with Virginia Sartoris, and seems to kill the old woman with the news that she gave her body to a man in order to prevent him from disgracing her name.

Isom Strother

Elnora's son in "There Was a Queen." Though it is not revealed in this story, his father is also his grandfather: Colonel John Sartoris.

The Federal agent

In "There Was a Queen," he is in possession of the inappropriate letters sent by the bookkeeper of the bank to Narcissa. He is investigating the crime of the bank robbery, which happened the same night, and in order to prevent him from sharing the letters with anyone, Narcissa sleeps with him in Memphis. He is described as "a bald, youngish man with a clever face and a Phi Beta Kappa key on his watch chain," a Jew.

Saddie Strother

Elnora's daughter in "There Was a Queen." She sleeps on a cot beside Aunt Jenny and takes care of her "as though she were a baby."

Major Saucier Weddel

In "Mountain Victory," he is a wounded confederate soldier on his way home to Mississippi. We learn in this story that he is the son of Choctaw chief Francis Weddel. He has lost an arm in battle, and is tired of violence.


The older brother in "Mountain Victory." He has fought for the North in the Civil War, and is very violent toward Saucier Weddel because of it.


The younger son in "Mountain Victory." He tries to convince Major Saucier Weddel to take him and his sister back to Mississippi with him. He forms a kind of trust with the ex-Confederate soldier, but it is hard for him to decide whether to help him escape, or to help Vatch and his father kill him.


The black ex-slave that accompanies Major Saucier Weddel in "Mountain Victory." He is an alcoholic, and becomes quite drunk throughout the story. His face is "dead black, wizened, his mouth a little loose, as though the muscles had become slack with usage, like rubber bands - not the eating muscles, the talking ones."

The girl

In "Mountain Victory," she is the daughter of the white-trash family in Tennessee. She becomes infatuated with Major Saucier Weddel, and sends Hule to ask him if they can run away to Mississippi with him. She is described as "about twenty: a big girl with smooth, simple hair and big, smooth hands, standing barefoot in a single garment made out of flour-sacks."

The Judge

The protagonist of "Beyond," who has just died and wanders for a bit in a kind of crossing-over state to the after-life. His full name is Judge Howard Allison. When he describes himself to Ingersoll, he explains "I am a great reader. It happens that my life is a solitary one, owing to the fact that I am the last of my family, and perhaps to the fact that I am a Republican officeholder in a Democratic stronghold."


In "Beyond," she is the Judge's black cook.


In "Beyond," he is the Judge's black servant.

The young groom

In "Beyond," the Judge meets him before anyone else after dying. The young groom has just died on the way to his own wedding, when he turned his carriage quickly to avoid hitting a child in the road.


In "Beyond," he is the Judge's atheist friend who has died before him by committing suicide. He is "a squat man" with "pale eyes" and a "truncated jow, collapsing steadily with a savage, toothless motion."


Ingersoll was a Civil War veteran and orator, famous for defending agnosticism. In "Beyond," the Judge finds him in the waystation of his mind between life and death, and hopes to find some kind of illumination of certainty in him. However, Ingersoll can offer him nothing, and instead advises him to seek his son.

Howard Allison II

The Judge's deceased son in "Beyond." He died at the age of ten, and this event spurred the Judge to search for meaning in rationalism, not faith in God.

The narrator of "Race at Morning"

The narrator is twelve years old and has never been to school. He was abandoned by both his parents when his mother "ran off with a Vicksburg roadhouse feller and the next day pap didn't come home neither." Mister Ernest took him in.

Mister Ernest

In "Race at Morning," he took the narrator in after both the boy's parents abandoned him. Mister Ernest is deaf, and "his face usually did have a smudge of mud or tractor grease or beard stubble on it, because he wasn't jest a planter; he was a farmer, he worked as hard as ara one of his hands and tenants..."

Willy Legate

One of the men at the hunting camp in "Race at Morning."

Roth Edmonds

One of the men at the hunting camp in "Race at Morning."

Walter Ewell

One of the men at the hunting camp in "Race at Morning."


In "Race at Morning," he is the field hand who leads the dogs out, and who comes to meet the narrator and Mister Ernest in the boat after the hunt.