Monday, August 7, 2017

How Much Do You Know About Irony?

Read the complete post
on

Alanis Morissetter

Alanis Morissette should have read this Reedsy post before she sang Ironic. If she had she would have gotten irony right instead of. . .well, rather wrong. It's not ironic when you're already late and stuck in a traffic jam, now is it? And it's not ironic if it rains on your wedding day. Tsk. Tsk, Song writers. Call Reedsy before you tackle irony again because the only irony in the song, Ironic, is that the writers didn't understand irony. 

Reedsy On!


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What Is Irony?
As Reedsy points out, "Irony is a storytelling tool used to create contrast between how things seem and how they really are beneath the surface." There are three main types of irony:  dramatic, situational, and verbal."

Dramatic Irony and Why Use It?
Simply put, dramatic irony occurs with the reader/audience knows what will happen before the characters do.  It's a great way to raise and sustain tension until the character finally is allowed in on the secret. Reedsy uses A Touch of Evil to show the effect of dramatic irony.  In the first scene, there's the planting of the bomb. Next, there are delays and some confusion. The bomb's ticking and we're the only ones who know it. 
  • Use dramatic irony if you want to create sympathy for a character or if you want to bring the reader closer to a character.  We all know Peter Parker's Spiderman, but the other characters in the story don't. That allows us to relate to him very differently than if everyone knew his secret identity.



  • Do you want your characters vulnerable? Give them a sense of security that doesn't really exist, and let the reader know the truth. They aren't safe at all.

  • Add a dash of comedy. Shakespeare did that with poor Malvolio and his "cross garter" fashion debacle. Reedsy uses a more modern example. "In an episode of Friends, Joey picks up Ross’s coat and a ring tumbles out — a ring intended for Rachel. When Joey kneels down to pick it up, Rachel assumes he is proposing and accepts. Comedy ensues as misunderstanding and miscommunication take the day." 


Situational Irony should not be confused with “coincidence” and “bad luck.” Here's Reedsy's example: "To differentiate, consider this: If you buy a new car and then accidentally drive it into a tree, that is both coincidence and bad luck. If a professional stunt driver crashes into a tree on their way home from receiving a “best driver” award, that is situationally ironic."
What does Situational Irony accomplish in a story?
Surprising twists like those found in thriller, crime, and mystery genres.
To emphasize themes. When the outcome is unexpected, we're made very aware of the underlying message. Reedsy gives the Tortoise and the Hare as an example of Situational Irony. 

Verbal Irony is when the intended meaning of a statement is the opposite of what is said. Somewhat like sarcasm, but not exactly because as Reedsy points out not all sarcastic statements are ironic. 
It gives insight into characters. In verbal irony, characters know what they're doing and why, so when they "intentionally state something that contradicts their true meaning" they reveal a lot about themselves.

If you'd like to read the complete post, go to REEDSY's site. It has more examples and more thorough explanations of each type of irony.


20 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee - none, after that wonderful expose ... I also know nothing about the song - sad me! But Reedsy have certainly given us a great number of examples re irony ... and by now hopefully we have some better idea - perhaps?! Cheers Hilary

nashvillecats2 said...

I don't know of the song but thanks for a most informative post on irony. Much can be learned from reading I'm sure.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Obviously to use irony effectively, you have to avoid the cliches of what people think irony is.

Pat Hatt said...

Funny when people assume irony is pretty much anything and just use it that way. So much irony though, as many kinds to give a go.

Christine Rains said...

A wonderfully information post. Thank you! (Now I have the song stuck in my head!)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If you don't get irony right after reading that, there's no hope. Very detailed info.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

An excellent point that we know irony when we see and hear it, but this article really helped me to better understand it. Thanks for sharing.

cleemckenzie said...

I marked it to read again. They really put together an informative post.

Fundy Blue said...

Fabulous post on irony, Lee! I've bookmarked it to reread!

Sandee said...

An excellent taste of irony. Very well done.

Have a fabulous day and week. ☺

Olga Godim said...

Fantastic post, filled with examples. I'll bookmark it to read again. Thanks, Lee. Now, all I have to do is utilize what it says in practice.

L.G. Keltner said...

Thanks for the informative post! I'm definitely bookmarking this one!

Juneta Key said...

Too funny, I got this post to in my email and thought about reblogging on my site but did not. It is a geat post.

Robert Bennett said...

Definitely a fantastic post. Great job. Now I share Bo Burnham with you in response:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VoscbQA3lM

Mirka Breen said...

This post should be part of Literature courses, for readers and writers. Excellent.

Lux G. said...

Alanis lied to us! LOL. It's a good thing I got the grasp of irony though.
Thanks for sharing this. Such an enlightenment to many for sure.

J Lenni Dorner said...

I love when irony is used in stories.

Sharon Marie Himsl said...

I really like irony, but it's not easy to pull off in a story. Need to work on this.

Munir said...

Thank you for posting the meaning of irony so clearly. My mom use to give examples of irony in real life . She always said that when we wish any one bad irony makes those wishes come back to us.

Lizbeth Hartz said...

Really enjoyed listening to the clips and learning a lot about irony. You really kept my interest.