Discerning Realities Essay

785 words - 4 pages

The term “irony” is not easy to define perhaps because it is largely misunderstood. For instance, there are some people who use the term “irony” interchangeably with “misfortune” or the term “ironic” with “cynical.” Oftentimes, literature is an excellent teacher about what certain terms mean. Indeed, Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” and Edward Arlington Robinson’s “Miniver Cheevy” seem to provide excellent insight as to what “irony” truly means. In addition to these, scrutiny of Lawrence Berkove’s analysis of Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, provides deeper enlightenment. After reading these literary pieces, it becomes evident that irony refers to the contrast between people’s ...view middle of the document...

Berkove, a retired English professor, seems to support this perspective of irony. He points to how Mrs. Mallard “wishes ‘to live for herself.’” This may be interpreted that Mrs. Mallard “had hitherto sacrificed herself for her husband.” However, Berkove clarifies that Mrs. Mallard’s “monstrous joy” at the mistaken belief that her husband had perished in an accident has little to do with Mr. Mallard. He notes that Mr. Mallard is probably a loving rather than depraved man, and that Mrs. Mallard is sick in the mind, imagining that she is oppressed by her husband. Berkove sees that Mrs. Mallard would have otherwise had an enjoyable life. The irony here is that a person who has “the best that life has to offer” has “no other option…except death” simply because of the discrepancy between her perceptions of truth (she is being oppressed) and reality (her husband truly loved her).
Irony takes place when a character claims something that is truth but the reader actually knows that is not. Miniver Cheevy longs for the Medieval ages, but alas, he lives in contemporary times. He “loved the days of old / When swords were bright and steeds were prancing” (Robinson lines 5-7). Unlike the reader, Miniver is not aware of why he, who so “loved the...

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