“Irony in Guy de Maupassant’s “The Jewelry””

Topics: Irony, Short story, Guy de Maupassant Pages: 9 (3124 words) Published: May 24, 2014
Chapter I. Irony
i.i Types of irony
i.ii Irony in literature
Conclusion to the Chapter I
Chapter II. “The Jewelry” by Guy de Maupassant
ii.i Plot summary
ii.ii Analysis of the story
ii.iii Irony in “The Jewelry”
Conclusion to Chapter II

“Expect the unexpected,” is something that I heard many times. We should follow this rule while reading different genres of writing, because writers use irony to keep readers’ attention, and make their works more interesting. This research paper deals with one of Guy de Maupassant’s short story “The Jewelry” and with his virtuous ability to use irony in it. It is sometimes said that we live in an age of irony. Because nowadays even politicians in their speeches use ironical device, in order to catch attention of society. Barry Brummet (expert in Techniques of Close Reading) in one of his speech mentioned that "Irony is a kind of winking at each other, as we all understand the game of meaning reversal that is being played."

The story was first published in Maupassant’s short-story collection “Contes du jour et de la nuit” in 1885. Since that time people have been reading it, and it won popularity among them. So it has a lot of interesting opinions and analysis which were made by famous critics and writers like Leo Tolstoy. Maupassant is considered one of the finest short story writers of all time and a champion of the realist approach to writing.

“The Jewelry” is interesting to read because it contains irony. Irony has always been fascinating object to study, and it is widely known and popular to use in modern time as in literature so in speech. It is splendid story; despite of being short it has deep sense and contains interesting topics to discuss. In “The Jewelry” reader can see what ironical games life can play with us and to what conclusion it can lead us.

Chapter I Irony
The Greek etymology of the word irony, είρωνεία (eironeia), means feigned ignorance (a technique often used by the Greek philosopher Socrates), and from είρων (eiron), the one who makes a question pretending to be naive, and είρειν is also a verb radical of the Greek "to speak". The verb είρειν (eirein) itself is probably from the Proto-Indo-European root *wer- say. Irony is a stylistic device in which the contextual evaluative meaning of a word is directly opposite to its dictionary meaning. There are very many cases which we regard as irony, intuitively feeling the alteration of the evaluation, but unable to put our finger on the exact word in whose meaning we can see the contradiction between what is said and what is implied. The effect of irony in such cases is created by a number of statements, by the whole text. Many examples of irony are supplied by D. Defoe, J. Swift and many others. i.i Types of irony

There are 3 main types of irony:
1. Verbal Irony: This occurs when a character says one thing but suggests or intends the opposite. For instance in Julius Caesar, Mark Antony says “and Brutus is an honorable man,” when he really means that Brutus is dishonorable because he has betrayed Caesar. It is very similar to sarcasm, although sarcasm is rough and direct while verbal irony is implied. 2. Dramatic Irony: This is the contrast between what the character thinks to be true and what the readers know to be true. Dramatic irony occurs when the meaning intended by a character’s words or actions is opposite of the true situation. Further, the character cannot see or understand the contrast, but the audience can. For example, in Othello, dramatic irony occurs when Othello refers to Iago as “honest Iago.” Unknown to Othello, Iago is a villain who deceives him into thinking that his wife has been unfaithful. For this, Othello unjustly kills his wife, believing the whole time in Iago’s honesty. Note the difference in examples for verbal and dramatic irony: Antony calls Brutus “honorable” and knows he is not...

Bibliography: 1. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Casque of Amontillado”, The Norton Introduction to Literature 8th edition
2. Guy de Maupassant, “Original short stories”, translated by Albert M. C. McMASTER and others, Plymouth edition, South Australia 5005
3. Guy De Maupassant, “The Jewelry.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. 9th edition
4. Short Story Criticism, Gale Cengage, 2004
5. William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet”, Foreign Language Publishing House, Moscow, 1951
6. William Shakespeare, “The tragedy of Othello”, Foreign Language Publishing House, Moscow 1963
7. http://article.ranez.ru
8. http://en.wikipedia.org
9. http://schoolworkhelper.net
10. http://www.slideshare.net
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