The more recently flourishing discussion of the narration has centered on the narrative voice, whether it is distinct from or coincident with the voice or voices of the town.
Those readers who have made strong arguments for a distinct persona have differed widely in characterizing it.
In other words, Miss Emily should be courteous and kind to Homer, but she should not become sexually active with him.
Once the town believes that Miss Emily is engaging in adultery, the narrator's attitude about her and Homer's affair changes from that of the town's.
The character of the narrator is better understood by examining the tone of the lines spoken by this "we" person, who changes his/her mind about Miss Emily at certain points in the narration. the men [went] through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument." Is the narrator saying that the town views Miss Emily respectfully? What has Miss Emily done to deserve the honor of being referred to as a "monument"?
Consider the opening sentence of the story and the reasons given for the townspeople's attending Miss Emily's funeral: ". Once we discover that she has poisoned her lover and then slept with his dead body for an untold number of years, we wonder how the narrator can still feel affection for her.
The narrator, who does not condemn Miss Emily for her obsession with Homer, nevertheless complains that the Griersons "held themselves a little too high." But even this criticism is softened: Recalling when Miss Emily and her father rode through the town in an aristocratically disdainful manner, the narrator grudgingly admits, "We had long thought of them as a tableau" — that is, as an artistic work too refined for the common, workaday world.
Also, the narrator almost perversely delights in the fact that, at age 30, Miss Emily is still single: "We were not pleased exactly, but vindicated." After Miss Emily's father's death, the narrator's ambiguous feelings are evident: "At last [we] could pity Miss Emily." The townspeople seem glad that she is a pauper; because of her new economic status, she becomes "humanized." Moving from admiring Miss Emily as a monument to taking petty delight in her plight, the narrator again pities her, this time when she refuses to bury her father immediately after he dies: "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." The word "cling" prepares us for her clinging to Homer's dead body.
In the Southern culture of the time, to inquire about a person's intent was a vulgar intrusion into one's privacy.
Yet, at this point, despite the narrator's admiration of Miss Emily's aristocratic haughtiness, we question a society that allows its members to use their high positions, respect, and authority to sidestep the law. Who, then, is this narrator, who seemingly speaks for the town but simultaneously draws back from it?