The Significance of Irony

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Jon Odle
Jeanne Urie
English 2413
10 July 2011
The Significance of Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device used to illustrate a discordant situation or verbalization in which the outcome is opposite of what was expected. As a result, this writing technique often introduces humor into the storyline, depending on the tone of the story. This element of indirectness is partly what makes poetry so interesting. Poetry’s lack of simplicity forces the reader to think independently, therefore creating numerous possible interpretations. The techniques of irony used in Stephen Dunn's, “After,” Gary Soto’s, “Mexicans Begin Jogging,” Mark Doty’s, “Golden Retrievals,” and “This Is Just To Say,” by William Carlos Williams, are ultimately different, but do have substantial similarities and presentations of humor. Stephen Dunn’s poem, “After,” was written as a continuation of the well-known nursery rhyme “Jack and Jill.” In the poem, Dunn takes the original story line from “Jack and Jill” and humorously displays the lives of Jack and Jill after their life-altering fall. It shows their injuries and daily troubles resulting from the fall that they are now forced to live with. Stephen Dunn uses his poem, “After,” to show the true irony of the original nursery rhyme it succeeds. “Jack and Jill” has been told for years and years to countless children—who most likely know the poem by heart. Although it has always been known as a children’s tale, Dunn breaks the poem down to reveal that the story’s incidents are not necessarily fit for a children’s story. He also shows the irony of Jack and Jill’s decision to fetch the water by themselves, in an attempt to save money, ended up costing them more in the long run. The idea behind it was very smart and creative and kept the poem interesting. The irony the author reveals through this poem is eye-opening and gives the reader something to think about. “After” conveys that although most children’s stories are full of touchy conflict, the...
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