Irony in Tobias Wolff’s “Hunters in the Snow” and Alice Munro’s “How I Met My Husband”
Irony expresses and often underlines the contrast between two opposite concepts creating an indirect, more sophisticated method of communication. Irony is as efficient in a literary work, as the reader can perceive it. Therefore, often times the reader must carefully analyze the material, reading it repeatedly if necessary, in order to fully understand the author’s message and intent. Tobias Wolff and Alice Munro employ irony in their short stories in attempt to surprise the readers, giving them an opportunity for discovery. In Wolff’s “Hunters in the Snow”, irony acts as a tragicomedy agent, but its role is mainly to reveal the true nature of the protagonists’ characters. On the other hand Munro’s use of irony gives her story, “How I Met My Husband”, a nice and funny finale, suggesting coming of age through epiphany and also the transition from phantasy to reality. Hence, irony is used differently in the two stories, such that in Wolff’s story it is a repetitive theme that keeps the reader engaged, while in Munro’s story irony provides the punch-line ending. In the short story, "Hunters in The Snow", written by Tobias Wolff, the reader is presented with many elements of irony. The main characters of the story are three friends with personal issues that have a life-changing day in their lives. The three friends meet on a weekend to go deer hunting. It is the middle of the winter and the weather and environment they are in, which is upstate Washington state, is described as quite cold and inhospitable, which creates a slight discomfort in the reader. The author mentions that “two years in a row they’d been up and down this land” (87) in the same area they were heading. So one would think the three must know this area inside and out. At the end of the story though, they prove us otherwise: “They had taken a different turn a long way back” (99). They get lost...
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