Literary Terms Vocabulary

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Literary Terms Vocabulary:

A contrast between expectation and reality. It can be:

There are three types or irony:

Verbal Irony
When we say the opposite of what we mean.
e.g., When a mother walks into a room and sees that her children, instead of doing their homework, are playing video games, she gives them a stern look and says "Once you're done with your very important work there, let's take some time out for recreation in the form of some chemistry problems."

Situational Irony
Something happens that is the opposite from what we expect. e.g., In 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', Dorothy goes to a wizard to fulfill her wish to go home before discovering that she had the ability to go back home all this while. The Scarecrow longs for intelligence only to discover that he is a genius, just as the Tin man longs to be capable of love only to discover that he has a heart. Similarly, the Lion who at first seems to be a coward, turns out to be very courageous.

Dramatic Irony
When we know something a character doesn’t know.
e.g., Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. When Romeo finds Juliet in a drugged sleep, he assumes her to be dead and kills himself. Upon awakening to find her dead lover beside her, Juliet then kills herself.

Irony Quiz

Instructions: Read the examples below, and decide whether what type of irony they describe (verbal, situational, or dramatic).

Irony ExampleType
'The Gift of the Magi'. In this story, there is a Christian married couple who are very poor. So, to give each other Christmas gifts, the wife cuts off her beautiful long hair to a wig-maker for money and buys a chain for her husbands heirloom pocket watch. Meanwhile, the husband sells his heirloom watch to buy his wife pretty combs for her long and beautiful hair. Situational

A mother makes the least favorite dish for her kid and the kid tends to just sit at the dinner table playing with his food, much to the annoyance of both parents. Then when he says "Do I have to eat this now mom?" and the mother replies "Of course you don't have to eat that right now dear, you can just eat it when you're really hungry!"

Huck Finn decides to rescue and free Jim, a runaway slave, who was sold to 'the King' and 'the Duke', the two con men they met on the way.
In 1974, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission had to recall 80,000 of its own label buttons which promoted 'toy safety', because these buttons had sharp edges, used lead paint and even had small clips which could be broken off and swallowed! Situational

Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, charged with adultery and sentenced to prison seeks the help of Reverend Dimmesdale to support her position and see to it that her daughter Pearl is not taken away from her. The reader here is aware that both Hester and Dimmesdale are partners in sin and that they have shared an illicit relationship but the characters themselves are ignorant to this situation. Dramatic

In the Prologue in Act I of Romeo and Juliet, which opens with "Two households, both alike in dignity, ...". When you first read this line, you may think that the two families are quite dignified or honorable. However, as the play goes on, you realize that each family is violently competitive. Thus, they are actually similarly undignified.


Point of View

Point of View (POV)
The angle from which a story is told. The angle depends upon the narrator, or person telling the story.

Authors use first-person point of view or third-person point of view. First-person point of view indicates that the main character is telling the story, whereas the third-person point of view directs that the narrator is telling the story. A novel can be written in the first-person narrative, third-person narrative, omniscient point of view, limited omniscient point of view, stream...
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