Use of Irony in Literature

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Irony is best defined as the usage of words in a way that is the exact opposite of their literal meaning. There are various forms of irony, including situation irony, in which people or things act the opposite that one would expect them to act in a given situation, or in which certain ideas are contrasted with those that are their exact opposite. Situation irony is readily demonstrated in William Safford's "Travelling through the Dark", Henry Reed's "Naming of Parts", and Gary Soto's "Behind Grandma's House". This literary device is the principle commonality between these works of literature, and plays a significant role in elucidating a common theme in which death and pain prevail. Stafford's "Traveling through the Dark" utilizes situation irony to reinforce a theme in which death is given particular prevalence. The author's primary usage of situation irony is in describing a deer that he meets while driving along a road. The deer is already dead, a fact which the poem's narrator is aware of when he stops to examine it (Stafford). What is exceedingly ironic about this fact, however, is that the deer itself is still attended by its fawn. The imagery of the dead deer and the fawn give the reader a dramatic sense of polar opposites one simply would not think a dead deer would be in the company of a newborn; those notions contrast with one another. The author emphasizes this bit of situation irony with the following paradox in which he states that dead deer's "fawn lay there
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