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Literary Terms #2 Irony & Tone

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1 Literary Terms #2 Irony & Tone
AP LITERATURE Mrs. Demangos from Perrine’s Literature Structure, Sound & Sense, 10th ed., Discovering Literature, and Sparksharts

2 Irony & Tone Irony: A situation or a use of language involving some kind of incongruity or discrepancy. Writers use the technique of irony to evoke laughter in the reader even as they express significant insight into human nature.

3 Irony Irony should not be equated with sarcasm, which is simply language one person uses to belittle or ridicule another. Irony is more complex. Operating through careful, often subtle indirection, irony helps to critique the world in which we live by laughing at the many varieties of human eccentricities and folly.

4 Verbal Irony The use of a statement that, by its context, implies the opposite. For example, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Antony repeats, “Brutus is an honorable man,” while clearly implying that Brutus is dishonorable. Sarcasm is a particularly blunt form of verbal irony.

5 Situational Irony Most important for the fiction writer.
The discrepancy is between appearance and reality, or between expectation and fulfillment, or between what is and what would seem appropriate.

6 Situational Irony In “The Most Dangerous Game,” it is ironic that Rainsford, “the celebrated hunter,” should become the hunted, this is a reversal of his expected and appropriate role.

7 Situational Irony In “The Destructors,” it is ironic that Old Misery’s horoscope should read, “Abstain from any dealings in first half of week. Danger of serious crash,” for the horoscope is valid in a sense that is quite different from what the words appear to indicate.

8 Dramatic Irony In dramatic irony the contrast is between what a character says or thinks and what the readers knows to be true. The author lets the audience or reader in on a character’s situation while the character himself remains in the dark.

9 Dramatic Irony With dramatic irony, the character’s words or actions carry a significance that the character is not aware of.

10 Dramatic Irony When used in tragedy, dramatic irony is called tragic irony. One example is in Sophocle’s Oedipus Rex, when Oedipus vows to discover his father’s murderer, not knowing, as the audience does, that he himself is the murderer.

11 Cosmic Irony The perception of fate of the universe as malicious or indifferent to human suffering, which creates a painful contrast between our purposeful activity and its ultimate meaninglessness. Thomas Hardy’s novels abound in cosmic irony.

12 Satire A kind of literature that ridicules human folly or vice with the purpose of bringing about reform or of keeping others from falling into similar folly or vice. It is ridicule, but it has a higher motive.

13 Horatian Satire After the Roman satirist Horace: Satire in which the voice is indulgent, tolerant, amused, and witty. The speaker holds up to gentle ridicule the absurdities and follies of human beings, aiming at producing in the reader not the anger of a Juvenal, but a wry smile.

14 Horatian Satire Alexander Pope's verse satires, some of them directly modeled upon Horace's work, are generally Horatian in tone. Ex.: “The Rape of the Lock”

15 Horatian Satire More examples:
Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, C.S.Lewis’s Screwtape Letters.

16 Juvenalian Satire After the Roman satirist Juvenal: Formal satire in which the speaker attacks vice and error with contempt and indignation. Juvenalian satire in its realism and its harshness is in strong contrast to Horatian satire.

17 Juvenalian Satire In English, Samuel Johnson's poems London (1738) and The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749) are both imitations of Juvenal, but the satires of Jonathan Swift come closer to Juvenal's uncompromisingly disgusted tone.

18 Juvenalian Satire Examples of Juvenalian satire: Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” Samuel Johnson’s “London,”George Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451,William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange

19 Sarcasm Sarcasm is simply bitter or cutting speech intended to wound the feelings (it comes from a Greek word meaning to tear the flesh).

20 Sarcasm? Irony? Satire? Irony may be popularly confused with sarcasm and satire because it is so often used as their tool; but irony may be used without either sarcastic or satirical intent, and sarcasm and satire may exist (though they do not usually) without irony.

21 Sarcasm? Irony? Satire? Ex: If a student says, “I don’t understand,” and the teacher replies, with a tone of heavy disgust in his voice, “Well, I wouldn’t expect you to,” he is being sarcastic but not ironic.

22 Sarcasm? Irony? Satire? But if, after you have done particularly well on an exam, and your teacher hands out your test saying, “Here’s some bad news for you: you all got A’s and B’s!” he is being ironic but not sarcastic.

23 Sarcasm? Irony? Satire? Sarcasm is cruel, as a bully is cruel: it intends to give hurt. Satire is both cruel and kind, as a surgeon is cruel and kind: it gives hurt in the interest of the patient or of society. Irony is neither cruel or kind: it is simply a device, like a surgeon’s scalpel, for performing an operation more skillfully.

24 Hyperbole (Overstatement)
Overstatement, or hyperbole, is simply exaggeration, but exaggeration in the service of truth. It may be humorous, grave, fanciful or restrained, convincing or unconvincing.

25 Hyperbole (Overstatement)
Tennyson’s “The Eagle” “Close to the sun in lonely lands,” Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” “I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence”

26 Understatement Understatement, or saying less than one means, may exist in what one says or merely in how one says it. example: If, upon sitting down to a loaded dinner plate, you say, “This looks like a nice snack,” you are actually stating less than the truth.

27 Understatement Example: from Artemus Ward… but if you say that a man who holds his hand for half an hour in a lighted fire will experience “a sensation of excessive and disagreeable warmth.” you are stating what is literally true but with a good deal less force than the situation warrants.

28 Litotes A form of understatement in which a statement is affirmed by negating its opposite. Example: “He is not unfriendly.”

29 Ambiguity Allows for two or more simultaneous interpretations of a word, phrase, action, or situation, all of which can be supported by the context of a work. Deliberate ambiguity can contribute to the effectiveness and richness of a work.

30 Ambiguity Example: Ghosts or other supernatural creatures in literary fiction are sometimes left as an ambiguous "reality." Is the character hallucinating or is that supernatural being really there? Examples can be found in Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" (1847) and Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw." Unintentional ambiguity obscures meaning and can confuse readers.

31 Paradox A statement which seems on its face to be self-contradictory or absurd, yet turns out to make good sense. Paradox is useful in poetry because it arrests a reader’s attention by its seemingly stubborn refusal to make sense.

32 Paradox Examples: “Fair is foul and foul is fair” Shakespeare “The child is the father of the man” Wordsworth “My only love sprung from my only hate!” Shakespeare “For when I am weak, then I am strong” St. Paul Paradox teases the mind and tests the limits of language; it can be a potent device.

33 Oxymoron From the Greek meaning “sharp-dull”, oxymoron is itself an oxymoron.  A self-contradictory combination of words or smaller verbal units; usually noun-noun, adjective-adjective, adverb-adverb, or adverb-verb.

34 Oxymoron If the paradoxical utterance conjoins two terms that in ordinary usage are contradictories, it is an oxymoron.  Example: “bitter sweet”, “wise fool”, “loving hate”, “pleasing pains”, “soft hardness”, “happy sadness” “jumbo shrimp”, “chiaroscuro”

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