Power of Irony in Literature Essay

1243 Words 5 Pages
Strictly speaking, irony is simply a discordance or incongruity of facts. It arises when a discrepancy occurs between what a person says and what he does . Chua, in his Enjoying Fiction discusses that there are three forms of irony that exist in literature. These are the verbal, situational and dramatic ironies. When used properly, the irony as an element of fiction not only arouses the interest of the readers but also supplements the message that the author intends to translate.
There are several literary works that epitomize the proper and exquisite use of irony. If we consider dramatic irony, the most appropriate example to attest to what irony can do to a literary work if used effectively, is Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.
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The story revolves around a lottery, an annual lottery that is witnessed by the entire town. Mr. Summers has been for many years the administrator of this activity and through the years he carried this black box, now no longer black, a victim of time, that contained what used to be wooden chips but have been replaces by paper slips. For many years, Mr. Summers had attempted to replace this wooden box, but he lived in a town that did not want to upset tradition [5].
In the end, we find out that it is no ordinary lottery. The winner does not receive a prize of any sort, instead we find out that the winner has to be stoned to death. The story closes with a boy stoning his mother to death [70-78].
First, we have to analyze how the irony was developed in the story. Jackson, by painting a rather harmless ambience, as I said earlier, misleads the reader to believing that the theme of the story is relatively light, the reader through this strategy will be unable to anticipate such a twisted ending. She supplements this by using a relatively light tone through her story. Even at the ending, her descriptions are straightforward and light but the mood that it ensues is haunting and gloomy. This sort of approach fed the situational irony reach to its highest level, making it stand-out and even exemplify the “power” of the story.
There also several messages that the Jackson wishes…