A Rose for Emily is a short story by William Faulkner, begins with the flashback of the death of the central character, Emily. This is intentionally designed because her death has something significant meaning in the story. When she dies, people in the town, get a chance to enter into her house after forty years long time. This has caused them to grow curiosity to know about her secrecy. I do think that people of the town are very inquisitive about Emily because after her father’s death they have hardly seen her except sometimes at the window of her room.
A Rose for Emily, on the other hand, presents its protagonist as a member of an aristocratic family possesses all material comfort. This is where; writer’s intention seems to show how merely material life cannot be a source of happiness. Writer, in the story, introduces us big building, wide compound, well-decorated rooms and the noble birth of Emily. However, she is portrayed as an unsocial being. She seems to be passive towards what goes on around her neighbor. She is absolutely out of contact with the society and outer world. Her bizarre attitude becomes a source of curiosity for her town people. They treat her as if she is an alien. This shows that the material lifestyle has alienated her and confined within the premises of her own house.
A Rose for Emily, at the same time, can be interpreted as a violation of natural rules by the central character- Emily. Her alienation from the natural phenomenon and the human world justifies that so-called aristocratic values compel her to detach herself from the process of socialization and common people lives. She has already exceeded the appropriate age of getting married. Neither could she be able to get married to her lover: Baron, nor could empower herself to assimilate into society. A point to be noted is that human being is a social animal and our, more or less, all the desires, emotions and necessities are fulfilled in the society we live in, but in Emily’s case, her house has become another planet where she presents herself like an alien. This is, in her case, an offense of the natural and the social laws which cause great depression.
Furthermore, if the natural emotions and desires of human being are not fulfilled in time, a human being develops as a senseless creature. In the story, the same thing can be found when the whole surrounding environment is plagued with full of bad smell, town people are obliged to write the complaint letter to the administration but Emily seems not to be affected by the plague anymore, though it is generated from her own house. In addition to that, when women of the town gather at her house to express their condolence on the demise of her father, she says her father is not dead.
When Emily leaves the earth forever, her body is buried in a cemetery where there are graves of anonymous soldiers. The writer, here, seems to show that her struggle against nature and her society was not less than the struggle of soldiers with their enemies in the battle-field. Another similarity between them is that all of them are anonymous. It is because soldiers were killed in a large countless number. Similarly, Emily was also not known to society as she did not come out of her house.
To sum up, the author, through this very story, intends to show that both challenging nature and society are destructive to human happiness and progress. They rather invite the great cause of depression and destruction.