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Use of Irony in the Rocking-Horse Winner

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Use of Irony in the Rocking-Horse Winner

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  • June 26, 2009
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Use of Irony- Enhancement
By Janice Lai
A story is comprised of literary elements and literary devices. The basic literary elements of a story are setting, character, conflict, point of view, plot and theme. A story must have all these elements in order to become a fully developed story. Aside from these elements, writers often use literary devices to enhance the story, perhaps making the story more popular. Irony, a statement meaning the opposite of what is written literally when taken in context is one of the popular literary devices used. R. H. Lawrence also uses various ironies in his short story, Rocking-Horse Winner. Consequently, the various ironies in the story Rocking-House Winner effectively help to enhance the story by further developing the literary elements.

First of all, R. H. Lawrence uses irony to strengthen the setting and the conflict in order to create a stronger developed story. In the beginning of the story, the audience is introduced to the environment of the family. They attempt to be recognized as a high class by living in a stylish house and buying luxuries items. However, the parents both have a small income and the family always complains there is a shortage of money. As the author describes, “There was always the grinding sense of the shortage of money, though the style was always kept up.” This setting is ironic since if there is a shortage of money, the family would save up instead of spending to keep them in style. This ironic setting, indeed, introduces the conflict, since this continual massive spending will lead the family into financial problems. As a result, this use of irony effectively establishes the setting and introduces to the conflict of the story. Furthermore, irony is also used to enhance the plot. When Uncle Oscar finds out his nephew Paul is involved in horse race betting, he asks Paul for a potential winning horse. However, Uncle Oscar does not believe in him so he only bet a small amount of money. This is...