Saturday, March 10, 2007

More detail on some of the types of "Irony"

In reply to a couple of specific questions about two or three of the types of Irony introduced and explained in Wednesday's lecture, here are some examples of these types taken from my own current readings (& one from a personal experience.) For more research, the book I quoted from in lecture is in the W.A.C. Bennett Library: A Dictionary of Literary Terms, by J. A. Cuddon.

SITUATIONAL IRONY. In The Masked Rider, Rush drummer & lyricist Neal Peart writes of his 1988 cycling trip across West Africa. A devout atheist, Mr. Peart relates how on one stage he stayed briefly at a monastery and at night was given blankets knitted and donated as a charity effort by churches in the West. "....and I smiled at the irony -- me, the impious one who made a point of donating only to secular charities, on the receiving end of missionary aid." (Masked Rider, Pottersfield, 104.)

See also the above picture that I took on Friday evening at the Canada Trust branch on West Broadway. The branch was open, and the glass doors have a huge "Welcome" sign by the handle .... but the door was locked and, hidden behind the sign, there was a Security Guard who waved me away!

HISTORICAL IRONY. In my World War One course this term, a student presentation related the irony of Germany losing the two World Wars and having all WWII debts cancelled and paying only a eighth of the reparations set by the Treaty of Versailles after WWI, while England, after winning the two World Wars, payed debts as a result to Canada and the United States of well over $200 billion dollars -- payments that were only completed.... in 2006!

COSMIC IRONY. There is a good example, presented in lecture, in Hey Nostradamus!, of the irony that sons frequently become the type of person they least liked in their own fathers. Reg becomes like his detestable father, and Jason sees himself becoming like Reg (& Jason's sons, presumably, following after their father's most-despised traits.) "[Reg is] a lonely, bitter, prideful crank, and I really have to laugh when I consider the irony that I've become, of course, the exact same thing. Memo to Mother Nature: Thanks."


Anonymous said...

But it seems like the irony on your given cases are all of which matters of reality. How about the presence of "fiction" in these samples? (or am I just over-thinking things? Sorry).

Dr. Stephen Ogden said...

Dear "Anonymous"
Uhhmm.... these three types of Irony are all ironies of the real world! Literary ironies were detailed in last Wednesday's and today's lectures. (No post on them because no questions about them. Yet.)