There are three main types of irony, those being, situational, dramatic and verbal. Those all can be found in the story The Gift of the Magi.
English Comp 1 101-14
06 December 2010
According to Dictionary.com, irony is a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character. Irony gives the writer a chance to let their story be creative and make it their own. There are three main types of irony, those being, situational, dramatic and verbal. Those all can be found in the story The Gift of the Magi. I will give examples of how situational, dramatic and verbal irony was placed into the story.
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The first type of irony is situational irony, this is when something is expected to happen but in the end it is the opposite. A situation this is found is in the last few paragraphs when it is shown that their new gifts bought for each other can no longer be used. Della cut her hair to buy Jim a chain for his watch, while he bought her combs for the hair she no longer has. While she knows they both love her hair she cuts it off to give him a great gift, but at the same time he is selling another prize possession to buy combs. This is shown when said "There were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch, the other Della's hair."
The next is dramatic irony, when the audience is aware of something that the characters are not. A perfect example is in second to last paragraph when it is found out that Jim has sold his watch to buy the combs. He sold one of their best possessions to get something that he thought Della would love. Another example is when Della cuts her hair in the middle of the story. She deep down loves her hair and does not want to lose it, but she sacrificed something she really cared about to get something she thought Jim would really love.
And lastly is verbal irony, which is really just a figure of speech. Meaning what the person does is the opposite of what is really meant. An example of this is shown in the second paragraph when it tells how sad Della seems. She is seen as crying and being unhappy, but the really she is young and very much in love. She is not an unhappy person, she is just sad at the moment about a Christmas present for Jim. Another situation of irony occurs when Della is standing in front of the window looking at her long beautiful hair and she lets a few tears out as she pulls her hair up quickly. To the audience you think she is just sad about her situation of not having money, but she knows she is about to go cut all of her hair off to get money. This is something she clearly does not want to do, but she does it anyways to make her husband happy.
This story was filled with great irony that made the story interesting and kept the audience thinking one thing might happen, but in the end switching it up and having the opposite occur. By the end of the story the opposite of what is believed to happen occurs. It shows the audience that the main irony of the story is when they give up their prize and most
loved possession for something that ends up being a useless gift. But there is no doubt irony made this story into an enjoyable one.