Irony Is Seldom Absent Essay

999 words - 4 pages

4VirkArash VirkNewEnglish 11 AP13 December 2013Irony is Seldom Absent"Irony trumps everything"(Foster 122). The master brush when articulating a work of literature amidst a canvas brimming with characters, action, plot twists and cliffhangers. Thomas C. Foster describes the spectrum of possibilities for the use of irony; to not only imply a sense of comedy, but also tragedy, perplexity and even hidden significances. Mark Twain, renowned for his scholarly and playful use of humor and comedy amidst his stories articulates the idea of irony when illustrating the story of Huck Finn in his novel "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". Mark Twains use of characterization presented through plot situations and situational irony allows for the author to present complexities about human nature and wisdom, yet still ultimately pertain to the story.Irony, much like in many other works of literature, cans serve to present more than just a small nuance of ideas, that pertain to the development of the plot and also the implications that can be made from them relating to modern society. Foster asserts that irony chiefly involves "a deflection from expectation" (Foster 124) in order to describe how readers generally interpret situations to be not as they are intended. This is evident as Huck's father describes a free black man he had encountered earlier in town by saying "he was a p'fessor in college…and knowed everything", setting up for the expectation of an accepting praiseworthy attitude, but finishes by exclaiming "he could VOTE...what is the country a-coming to?"(Twain 108). Twains characterizations of Pap serves to display the bad-mannered individual in today's society, and this ignorant stereotyping and generalizations are present throughout the novel as they serve to develop character personalities and distinguish the social era in which the novel is set in. But beyond this, the irony serves to hint at how this applies to not only other works or literature but also human morals and society. The irony present in this scene, that seems to occur multiple times throughout the course of the plot serves to unfold Twain's deeper purpose of writing, one in which he reflects upon the social ignorance and hierarchy that humans place upon themselves in order to assert dominance. This helps in reveling his theme of mocking current social standards and the slavery that is present in his era. Even writing the book decades after the abolition of slavery, Twains novel serves to introduce the idea that simply changing rules and regulations isn't going to change society, but rather humans themselves has to take on a change. Irony serves to support and flourish the greater purpose of Twains novel; to inform his audience of the flaws and issues that societies face today. With irony supported by characterization, Twain is able to take a satirical and playful approach, while still conveying his more serious social commentary.Twain's social commentary is not only...

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