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Irony Richard Cory
Excerpt From this Document
Isn't Life Ironic!
- Everyday life is filled with ironiesthe contrasts between reality and people's perceptions, between results and expectations, and between the way people view themselves and how they are seen by others. Literature, poetry, and music reflects these ironies found in the real world. A deeper understanding of life's harsh reality and the complex concept of irony may be enhanced through the study of contemporary music and poetry. This lesson compares the use of irony in selected contemporary songs with that used by Edward Arlington Robinson in his poetry.
Objectives: The student will be able to:
- Identify the three types of irony found in literature verbal irony, situational irony, and dramatic irony.
- Analyze poetry and song lyrics for theme, structure, and style.
- Create an original piece of writingpoem, short story, song lyricillustrating an understanding of irony.
- Materials: CD's/tapes/records of selected songs; CD/tape/record players; song lyrics; copies of selected poems by Edward Arlington Robinson.
- Time Frame: 23 class periods for the study of selected songs and selected writings of Edwin Arlington Robinson. 3 class periods for the writing process and sharing of original pieces.
- Suggested for high school American literature students.
- As an introduction to this lesson, ask students to define and give examples of irony. Write their definitions on the board along with their examples. After a brief discussion, distribute a sheet with the definitions of the 3 types of irony found in literature.
- Allow students time to write answers to the following questions individually:
- Distribute lyrics to Alanis Morissette's song "Ironic." Listen to the song.
- What examples of situational irony are used? [Stanza 2 is a strong example.]
- What do you think the artist meant when she sang the lyrics, "There's a hero if you look inside your heart."
- What examples of verbal irony can be identified? [In stanza 2 Mr. Play It Safe thinks "Well, isn't this nice"he means the exact opposite. Verbal irony includes sarcasm.]
- How does Alanis Morissette define "irony?" [Answers will vary. Morissette seems to indicate that life provides situations that a person doesn't necessarily need nor expect. Life kind of plays jokes on people.]
- What is the mood of this song? Do you agree with it or not? [There seems to be a sarcastic and cynical tone.]
- Introduce Edwin Arlington Robinson providing background information as needed.
- Distribute copies of Robinson's poem "Richard Cory." Read this poem aloud. Discuss his writing style and use of irony. The discussion should include the following:
- What perception of Richard Cory is developed in the first three stanzas? [He has everything. His life is perfect.]
- What words contribute to the impression? [There are so many" gentleman from sole to crown," "imperially slim," "glittered when he walked," "richer than a kin,"These are a few of the word choices that develop this regal picture of Cory.]
- Who is the poem's speaker? How is the speaker different than Richard Cory? [The townspeople are the speakers. They are the onlookers, and they look up to Richard Cory. They wish they were in his place.]
- What makes the poem's final line surprising? [The first three stanzas develop a different picture of Richard Cory. The last two lines do not fit the expectations.]
- What type of irony is used in this poem? Is it effective? [The last two lines are situational as well as dramatic irony.]
- What is the theme of the poem? [Things are not always what they seem to be. All people have problems. Answers will vary.]
About this Document
1. Identify the three types of irony found in literature--verbal irony, situational irony, and dramatic irony. 2. Analyze poetry and song lyrics for theme, structure, and style. 3. Create an original piece of writing--poem, short story, song lyric--illustrating an understanding of irony.