Literary Analysis: Irony
A parable often contains irony, because the lesson of the story may be obvious to readers but not to the main character—at least until it’s too late. Irony refers to literary techniques used by a writer to portray differences between appearance and reality, expectation and result, or meaning and intention. In dramatic irony, there is a contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader knows to be true. In irony of situation, an event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters or the reader. DIRECTIONS: Often, an event in a story is ironic only in hindsight. Complete the following chart by telling why each example listed from Tolstoy’s story is ironic. The first one has been answered for you. When you are finished, answer the question that follows.
Unit 2: Striving for Success
Story Event 1. Pahom says, “If I had plenty of land, I shouldn’t fear the Devil himself!” 2. Pahom is angry when he gets fined by the woman’s manager, because he is careful with his animals. 3. Pahom’s heart fills with joy as he looks at his land.
Why It’s Ironic The devil is listening and will tempt Pahom by giving him land.
4. Pahom is ten times better off in the Volga than he had been.
5. Pahom thinks he is tricking the Bashkir chief by getting a great deal on the land.
6. Pahom dies of exhaustion after marking off a huge area of land.
7. How does irony make the parable’s moral more meaningful? Explain.
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Literary Analysis for Enrichment