In Larry Watson’s novel, Montana 1948, irony is used to illustrate the human flaws of the antagonist Frank Hayden. Irony is defined as the use of words to express the opposite of what one really wants. In the beginning of the novel, Frank is conveyed as the handsome, charming, war hero but as the story unfolds, Frank’s true identity is exposed. He is merely a rapist, racist, sexist, murderer whose main goal is to get what he wants despite who is hurt in the process. Irony, in this novel, is not only displayed through Frank’s character but it is also shown through other characters in the book and the society. In the society of Mercer County, Ollie Bear is a significant character along with Frank who perceives the double meaning. Irony in the novel is shown to not just stem from Frank, but starts with the environment of the society and other characters in Mercer County. Frank’s society in Mercer County shares the same type of irony because of the outlook of being quiet and civil, but looking into the inside of what it means to live there is the opposite from being quiet.
In the novel of Montana 1948, irony is conveyed in the beginning as the narrator depicts the setting of the town. The narrator mentions “Mercer County is plains, flat as a tabletop on its western edge….Life was simply hard, so much time and energy went into keeping yourself alive...that nothing was left over for raising hell or making trouble” (p4). When the author makes this statement he talks in general terms of how the town is at first glance and leaves the irony for the story to unravel. He fails to explain what physically happens on the flat plains. The author also shows irony when he starts to explain how one does not have enough time for anything not even trouble. The irony is shown in the phrase by not actually being true throughout the novel. There was trouble starting with Frank, his family or other miscellous characters. Coming back into recognition that there is plenty to do in...
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