Things Are Not Always What They Seem William Faulkner s short story A Rose for Emily centers around Miss Emily and what the townspeople think of Miss Emily. One of the themes for A Rose for Emily is appearance versus reality. This theme of appearance versus reality can be seen through what the townspeople think of Miss Emily and by the actions taken by Miss Emily. Miss Emily was part of the old south, who refused to change with the times. Miss Emily was of the upper class until her father died. Miss Emily did not have to pay taxes because: Miss Emily s father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying.
(71). When her father died all that Miss Emily was left with was the house. This made the townspeople happy in a way. The townspeople now could pity Miss Emily. Being left alone, and a pauper, she had become humanized. (73).
When Miss Emily was seeing Homer Baron the townspeople thought she would never go out with a day laborer from the north. (74). The townspeople then assumed that Miss Emily wanted to marry Homer Baron. Until Homer Baron was heard to say that he liked men and that he was not a marrying man. (75). Because Homer said he was gay, Miss Emily had bought rat poison and the townspeople assumed that she would kill herself the next day.
Miss Emily did not kill herself the next day or the next day after that. Shortly after Miss Emily had bought the rat poison Homer Baron disappeared. The townspeople thought that Homer had left town. But he did not; Miss Emily had murdered him with the rat poison that she had bought. After murdering Homer Baron Miss Emily never left her house. She Just sent her servant, The Negro, to do everything for her.
Eventually Miss Emily finally passed away. And this is when the townspeople found out what actually happened to Homer Baron. He did not leave town as the townspeople had thought he wa murdered by Miss Emily. There Homer Baron laid on Miss Emily s bed in a state of embrace and on the pillow beside him a long stand of iron gray hair was found. (77). This indicates to us that Miss Emily had been sleeping with the dead body of Homer Baron.
One can now see that appearance versus reality can be a theme of Faulkner s short story A Rose for Emily. Because of what the townspeople think is going on with Miss Emily and what actually is going on with Miss Emily.