What is the message in the story "A Rose for Emily"?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although this story is not an allegory ( a tale with a moral message), it does contain several themes. One of the themes concerns the decay of the Old South. Emily grows up in a society where women are not supposed to work and they are supposed to be taken care of by men. However, she is left penniless by her own father and is too old to be considered marriageable by that time. Thus, she is trapped in a world that she was not raised for. Yet, she continues to live as if the old times were still meaningful. When this does not get her what she wants and needs, she resorts to desperate means in order to get what she wants. A corollary to that theme is the idea of "community vs. isolation". Because of their belief in different social groups, Emily is left alone to deal with all of her problems. The town people think they are being respectful, but they are actually contributing to Emily's feelings of abandonment and isolation, So she loses touch with reality and the results are tragic.