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Irony Analysis of the Gift of the Magi

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Irony Analysis of the Gift of the Magi

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Chase Tidmore
Intro To Lit Analyst
Ms. Sheperis
10/20/11
Irony Within “The Gift of the Magi”
“Irony is a disciplinarian feared only by those who do not know it, but cherished by those who do”, Soren Kierkegaard knew what he was talking about when he said these famous words. “The Gift of the Magi”, written by William Sidney Porter, often known by his pen name O. Henry. It is a short story depicting literary elements of irony, romance, and Porter's sense of twist endings, and is all about a poor couples Christmas. Because of the end results of Della and Jim's sense of self sacrifice, “The Gift of the Magi” displays almost a word for word example of what irony is defined as. Irony is a rhetorical literary device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions. In this sense, the world irony would mean speech that means the opposite of what it is actually intended to be used. Irony could be broken into a few different categories: verbal irony (most commonly sarcasm), dramatic irony, and situational irony. For something like situational irony, the actions or events in a story will usually be enacted by a specific character and unbeknownst to the character, their action will have an effect that is completely opposite of their desired intentions. “Romeo and Juliet” was a great example of this, because the lovers tried to fake their deaths, only to actually die in the process (this is, of course, a very morbid example). Porter does a much better example of situational irony in “The Gift of the Magi” when he writes his twist ending to fit into ironic story at the end. “The Gift of the Magi” is a great example of irony, situational irony to be specific. If one were to look again at what “situation irony” is, Merriam-Webster would define the term as “ irony involving a situation in which actions have an effect that is opposite of what was intended, so that...

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