Irony


Many authors use irony in their stories. There are different forms of irony, including verbal, situational, and dramatic irony. Irony adds a twist at the end of the story and leaves the readers a little confused.


Irony plays a big part in Shirley Jackson’s short story, "The Lottery." Throughout the story, the reader is led to believe that the lottery being held within the community is an exciting and wonderful thing. What the reader sees is a small, close‑knit community, a community that seems almost like a big family, gathering for this event. The story focuses on the tension of the crowd while the lots are drawn by the head of each family. The reader is surprised to find that the "winner" is upset instead of filled with joy. The reader is even more surprised when the winner or, more accurately, the loser is so upset that she tries to award someone else with the honor. At the end of the story, we find out that the prize for being the winner of the lottery is that the winner will be killed by stoning.


The plot of the "The Necklace," by Guy de Maupassant, is even more ironic than that of "The Lottery". A beautiful women who is poverty stricken loses what she presumes to be a valuable necklace. After losing the necklace, she and her husband become engulfed in debt by borrowing from usurers and friends in order to replace the lost necklace. The couple spends years living in poverty while repaying the debts. The situational irony is revealed when the reader and the woman learn that the necklace was a fake and was not worth nearly the money the couple spent replacing the necklace.


In "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas," the citizens live in a Utopian society, a society with no crime or guilt of any kind. It is the kind of society that many people have dreamed of for years. The ironic twist comes from the famous cliche, "If it sounds to good to be true it probably is." The drawback of this Utopian society is that in order for the citizens to maintain the Utopia, a young child must be tortured. The dramatic irony is that suffering of one child results in the ultimate happiness of a whole community.


Authors often use situational, dramatico r verbal irony in their stories to surprise the reader at the end of the story. This gives the reader a little shock and leaves the reader thinking about the whole story. It makes the reader re‑think the plot and his expectations of the ending of the story.