1. At the beginning of the story, Whitney mentions to Rainsford that the island they are sailing nearby has a bad reputation as an ominous place. Rainsford comments,
Pure imagination...One superstitious sailor can taint the whole ship's company with his fear.
Rainsford sees the island as a typical piece of land in the middle of the sea, but it is actually a terrifying place where General Zaroff conducts his murderous game.
2. When Rainsford swims to the island and sees the general's palatial chateau for the first time, he believes that he is lucky and has found a wonderful, inviting palace to spend the night. Despite the beautiful appearance of Zaroff's chateau, Rainsford has entered the home of a maniacal murderer, where he will not spend a peaceful night.
3. After dinner, General Zaroff shows Rainsford the device he uses to manipulate ships into sailing into dangerous waters by flicking a switch, which flashes a light out at sea used to indicate a channel. Instead of a channel, there are sharp rocks that destroy ships and force the sailors to swim to the nearby island, where Zaroff proceeds to hunt them. The light that indicates a false channel is an example of appearance versus reality.