Irony, satire, parody, humor and epigrams are deeply connected by having one main thing in common: they are usually meant to hurt the intellectual self of someone. We use it in our everyday’s life to make fun of people, or simply because someone is annoying and we would like them to stop, without being “too” rude. Irony can be defined as a statement different from what appears to be true. It is an incongruity between what is expected to happen and what actually happens (Meyer, 286-287). In a lot of cases, irony is usually used to raise the reader's interest by making the story or poem more unpredictable. In the poem “Suburban” by John Ciardi, the author approaches the reader with humor and irony. When Mrs. Friar phones Mr. Ciardi, saying: “The fact is your dog has just deposited – forgive me – a large repulsive object in my petunias,” can be interpreted as irony, because of the need of all living beings to eliminate solid, semisolid or liquid waste from our bodies, but the way she was saying it, sounds almost like she has no need to defecation. Mr. Ciardi does not respond the way he would like to out of politeness. He doesn’t even think it was his dog who did it, because his dog is out of town with his son, but yet, he agrees to pick it. There is the irony, again, he does the opposite of what a reader would expect him to do, the opposite of even what he wants to say or do. We could define this poem as a situational irony, which is a situation where there is a contradiction between what is expected to happen and what actually occurs, which is usually connected to a negative view of life. In other words, it is an outcome very different from what was originally expected. As explained in “The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature,” situational irony creates a distinction between realities in order to bring the reader closer to the central meaning of the story or poem. That is a different approach to poetry, meant for people that think poetry as a very boring subject. It shows, that can be very funny and meaningful as well. On the other side, we have “verbal irony.” Verbal Irony consists of saying one thing, but meaning the opposite. In “The Secretary Chant,” the authors approaches to her office functions in a humorous way, but yet, the reader can clearly identify the ironic language she uses to attack her job duties, that make her feel like a machine instead like a human being. In a verbal irony, it is usually the tone of voice the one that reveals the reality different from what is the truth. If we use irony as the way to hurt someone by falsely praise that person we are using a type of irony known as sarcasm. In this particular poem, the author uses sarcasm as the way of mocking her job, to attack its duties in a subtle and funny kind of way. We also have parody, which is a literary or musical work in which the author mocks another authors work. A perfect example is “A Visit from St. Sigmund,” where the author, X.J.Kennedy makes fun of the children’s song “The night before Christmas.” A bizarre poem, where a man falls asleep and instead of having a dream about San Nicholas, like the kid in the original poem does, he, instead dreams of having intimacy with his mother, and instead of talking to Santa Claus, he finds himself talking to a psychologist, Sigmund Freud, who tells him that his dream is a direct result from repressed memories from his childhood, and that is perfectly normal to feel this way. It mocks San Nicholas, and Christmas Eve, a special night for all kids.
Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. (Flanagan, M). As Diane Wakoski said, “we can discover secrets by analyzing poetry.” The meaning of a poem can mean something to one person, but something completely different to another person. Interpretation of poetry depends of our values, culture, beliefs and even our everyday lives. They are...
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