Much of Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" is predicated on situational irony, or the contrast between what we (the reader) or the characters expect to happen and what actually happens. Examples are as follow:
- We don't expect a citizen like Emily to refuse to pay taxes:
"I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves."
- We don't expect the sheriff to acquiesce to her demands of not paying taxes.
- We (and the townspeople) don't expect the awful smell coming form Emily's house to be a dead body.
- We don't expect a daughter like Emily to refuse to give up the dead body of her late father Southern clout, like Emily, to marry a Northerner like Homer Baron
- We don't expect a homosexual, like Homer, to marry a woman:
"Homer himself had remarked--he liked men..."
- We don't expect the townspeople not to investigate the very obvious murder of Homer Baron by Miss Emily, especially after she bought the means publicly:
"I want some poison..." and "I want arsenic."
- We don't expect Emily to be sleeping with Homer's dead body for all these years.