Point Of View And Irony In Katharine Brush's The Birthday Party

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In the short story “Birthday Party”, Katharine Brush paints the tale of a husband’s birthday surprise from his wife and its unexpected outcome. Through dinner and dessert, Brush explores how quickly life can change from celebration to tragedy. Through the use of literary devices such as point of view and irony, “Birthday Party” conveys that life is not always what it seems and does not always turn out as planned. “They were a couple in their late thirties, and they looked unmistakably married.” The first line of the story establishes third person point of view. The reader is also a patron of the small restaurant, seated close to the married couple. Brush does not define the gender of the narrator so that anyone who reads the story can…show more content…
The title itself is ironic as the story does not at all describe a happy celebration as birthday parties should be. The birthday cake planned by the wife should have made her husband surprised and excited, but ironically, it had the opposite effect. After the cake was delivered and the birthday song was played, he became “hotly embarrassed and indignant at his wife for embarrassing him”. While most birthday parties are full of happy people, this occasion was just the two of them. At first glance, they seemed like any other loving couple sharing an intimate dinner. The reader quickly sees, however, that this couple is not as they seem as the husband becomes furious and makes his wife cry. Furthermore, even though they were together, the couple seemed completely alone by the evening’s end. By using irony, Katharine Brush paints the story of a surprise birthday party and its unexpected and sad outcome. In conclusion, Katharine Brush uses literary devices such as point of view and irony to describe an evening at dinner with a married couple. A carefully planned surprise birthday cake and song cause the evening to take an unexpected turn. The birthday celebration quickly took a tragic turn and ended the evening in tears and anger. The short story“Birthday Party” examines how life is not always how it seems and does not always end up the way we had
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