In "A Rose for Emily", what are some contrasts between Emily's perceptions of reality and reality itself?

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afi80fl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a couple of areas in which the author contrasts Emily's perception of reality with reality itself.  One of these areas is with loss.  For example, Emily doesn't deal with the death of her father very well; to the extent that she keeps his dead body in the house to avoid letting go.  The townspeople had to convince her to allow them to remove it!

When the younger town aldermen decide to collect her overdue taxes, even though they knew she couldn't afford it now that children had stopped coming for pottery painting lessons, she said, "See Col. Sartaris" over and over.  The problem with this is that the poor colonel had been dead for some time.  She refused to understand her responsibility to her town in terms of finances/tax burden.

Finally, when Homer wouldn't agree to marry her because he was homosexual, she murdered him with arsenic... "for rats."  He made a fool of her in that she was the only one who couldn't tell he was gay, even though he drank and spent time with the young men in town at the bar. 

Emily's inability to see things for what they really were plauged her throughout the short story.

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A Rose for Emily

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