Irony in "A Pair of Tickets" and "A Rocking Horse Winner"

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Ricardo Cortez
Prof. P. Vedula
English-1102 (60384)
04 July 2012
Rough draft with markups on irony in “A Pair of Tickets” and “A Rocking Horse Winner” Two of the many definitions of irony that I like are found on dictionary.com. The first definition states that irony is “incongruity between what is expected to be and what actually is, or a situation or result showing such incongruity” (“Irony”). The second defines Dramatic irony as "…irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play” (“Dramatic irony”). In reading D.H. Lawrence’s short story “A Rocking Horse Winner” and Amy Tan’s short story “A Pair of Tickets”, I find elements within each piece that are wonderful examples of both of the above definitions. Both authors have a similar use of situational and verbal irony, a use of irony in the way in which the characters see himself or herself versus how others see them, and a use of irony in what the characters expected to happen versus what in fact happened, all of which help to sustain the storyline and to assist the reader in personalizing each story The use of irony in the way in which the characters see himself or herself versus how others see them is easy to see in Lawrence’s “A Rocking Horse Winner”. A central irony is introduced in the first paragraph when Paul’s mother is introduced. Although Hestor’s neighbors see her as a wonderful mother who adored her children, inwardly, she and the children know this is not true. She has in her heart a “hard little place” that was incapable of loving anyone (Lawrence). There is also irony in the fact that, at the end of the story, Paul still sees himself as lucky even though his mother and uncle both realize that Paul is in fact dying. In Amy Tan’s “A Pair of Tickets”, there is irony in how June sees herself versus how her mother sees her. June adamantly sees herself as an American, not Chinese. Her mother knew that...
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