The Significance of Irony

1413 Words6 Pages
Jon Odle
Jeanne Urie
English 2413
10 July 2011
The Significance of Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device used to illustrate a discordant situation or verbalization in which the outcome is opposite of what was expected. As a result, this writing technique often introduces humor into the storyline, depending on the tone of the story. This element of indirectness is partly what makes poetry so interesting. Poetry’s lack of simplicity forces the reader to think independently, therefore creating numerous possible interpretations. The techniques of irony used in Stephen Dunn's, “After,” Gary Soto’s, “Mexicans Begin Jogging,” Mark Doty’s, “Golden Retrievals,” and “This Is Just To Say,” by William Carlos Williams, are ultimately different, but do
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“Golden Retrievals” presents a mixture of different kinds of irony. The poem is ironic in itself because it is told from the perspective of a dog. This makes the poem interesting because it is rarely seen in literature. The poem is also ironic because the dog is criticizing his owner, completely aware of his owner’s mindless thoughts. It begins with a very playful and spirited tone as the retriever displays his wandering mind, suggesting that his intelligence is very limited. However, he reveals his true knowledge and awareness of his surroundings as he identifies and criticizes his owner’s senseless preoccupations. This ironic situation adds humor and drama to the storyline and creates a very unique and innovative poem.
The irony seen in “Golden Retrievals” enlightens the reader to not allow the past and future to consume their life. This stresses to live in the present and enjoy what is happening currently. This poem also gives consideration to the fact that wisdom and guidance can come from the least expected places. Similar to “After,” Mark Doty’s use of situational irony brought humor into the story and added complexity that provide a valuable life lesson.
William Carlos Williams’s poem, “This Is Just To Say,” is about a person, the narrator, that has eaten plums that were in the refrigerator. Although the narrator was very certain that the plums were not his to eat, he eats them anyways and then later apologizes to the owner. After asking the owner
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