Irony in Tobias Wolff's "Hunter's in the Snow" and Diane Munro's "How I Met My Husband"

1731 Words Dec 8th, 2011 7 Pages
Irony in Tobias Wolff’s “Hunters in the Snow” and Alice Munro’s “How I Met My Husband”

Irony expresses and often underlines the contrast between two opposite concepts creating an indirect, more sophisticated method of communication. Irony is as efficient in a literary work, as the reader can perceive it. Therefore, often times the reader must carefully analyze the material, reading it repeatedly if necessary, in order to fully understand the author’s message and intent. Tobias Wolff and Alice Munro employ irony in their short stories in attempt to surprise the readers, giving them an opportunity for discovery. In Wolff’s “Hunters in the Snow”, irony acts as a tragicomedy agent, but its role is mainly to reveal the true nature of
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The main character seems to be Tub, an overweight man with an eating disorder, since he was presented first and also in most detail. Even though Tub is being overly cautious with his rifle by taking the bolt out before he enters the truck, which is not a common practice among hunters, he later shoots Kenny in a blink of an eye. The author mentions that Tub “shot from the waist” (91), which means that this was an instinctive reflex in self-defense. The other two characters are Kenny, the prankster of the group and Frank, the "intellectual" of the group, who seems like the leader of the group in the beginning of the story. Both Kenny and Tub look up to Frank and show him what seems to be undeserved respect. As we find out later on he is clearly unworthy of the respect initially given to him. The irony of the situation is that Frank becomes quickly a subordinate of Tub's will. After Tub stands up to Frank and confronts him physically about the constant bullying, Frank instantly "loses face" and starts trying to please Tub in any way possible, completely ignoring the wounded Kenny. From being the leader of the group he becomes this puppy, doing everything he can to gain Tub’s approval, as his initial friendship to Kenny seems to have evaporated or never have truly existed. This
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