Flat characters are minor characters in a fiction work that do not undergo substantial growth or change as the story continues. These characters are also known as “two dimensional characters” or “static characters”. They do play the supporting role to the main characters. These characters are bringing discussions and are noteworthy in any story. For example, Homer Barron, the druggist, and Judge Stevens in "A Rose for Emily" are flat characters in the story. They are minor, yet, very significant characters. Their characters remain unchanged despite the roles that they play in the story. There are a number of discussions about them that prove their flat characteristic nature.
Homer Barron is a flat character in "A Rose for Emily". He is not stated in the story as a person of any character. He is the Yankees construction foreman. He becomes the first lover of Emily Grierson. The relationship that he has with Emily is considered as shocking. The reason being, that he is a Northerner. In addition, it does not look as if the two will ever get to marry. Homer is known to be drinking with other young men at the Elk’s pub.
Furthermore, he has already remarked that he is not a man who is going to marry. The two ignore the gossip that is going around town. This is until Emily’s two female cousins who came from Alabama arrive in town. Homer left town for several days. That happened until the cousins went back to Alabama. In the mean time, Emily purchased men’s clothing, arsenic, and a monogrammed toilet set that contained the initials H.B. Homer returned to Jefferson. This is three days after the cousins of Emily have left. Homer is seen entering Emily’s home. Thereafter, he is never seen again.
The story as told by the narrator makes the reader to misunderstand Emily. The reason is he narrates the story in the first person point of view. The story, “A Rose for Emily” is about a person who was in a small southern town. This person describes the events of Emily’s life. She is the sole survivor of the town’s last noble family. The reader is made to misunderstand the character, because of the narrator’s conflicting feelings of lack of relationship and pity. Moreover, the father of Emily chased all the young men who came for her hand in marriage. When her father died, she is pitied by the narrator because she was left alone. Emily says and meet that the father had not died, when the town was offering condolences for her father’s death.
Instead of seeing her as crazy, she is pitied because she was left with nothing. Emily is seen with Homer during the next summer. Homer is a man below her status. They knew she was going to have an interest but “she would not think seriously of a Northerner”. The disappearance of Homer, it is believed Emily bought the arsenic to kill herself. This is because Homer had left her, and she was alone. She finally dies, and the town came for her funeral. The town acted as if they had danced and courted her. They were showing respect because she was their “idol”.
The druggist is a flat character in "A Rose for Emily". He plays an insignificant and minor role in the story. Miss Emily visited the druggist when she was visiting her cousins to buy arsenic. Faulkner writes, "Arsenic," Miss Emily said. "Is that a good one?” the druggist said "Is...Aresenic? Yes, ma'am. But you want -", then Miss Emily insisted "I want arsenic." Miss Emily stared at the druggist until he went. It is a Negro boy that delivered her package. The druggist did not come back. She intimidated the druggist the same way she had intimidated the Aldermen. The druggist did not bring the package by himself, but, sold the poison to her.
Another flat character is Judge Stevens. The Judge refuses to confront Emily on the smell. Instead, some men in Jefferson are the ones who sneak at night in her property and spread lime. In addition, the Baptist minister is intimidated by Emily when he questioned her on the conversation details with Homer. The writer of “A family for Rose” has used the flat characters to show a pattern of behaviors.