The Snows of Kilimanjaro Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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What are some instances of irony in Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"?

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Renata Kelly eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are three generally acknowledged types of literary irony: verbal irony, situational irony, and dramatic irony. Hemingway's story "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" contains examples of both verbal and situational irony, and I've outlined a few for you below. Based on my reading of the text, I do not feel there are any instances of dramatic irony in the story, however others may disagree, so it's worth exploring this yourself!

Verbal irony involves a speaker saying something deliberately counter to what he means, through the use of sarcasm, exaggeration, or understatement. Harry makes frequent sarcastic remarks to Helen and to himself. When she asks him if there's anything she can do to help him, Harry says:

"You can take the leg off and that might stop [the gangrene], though I doubt it. Or you can shoot me. You're a good shot now."

What he means is that there is nothing Helen can do and he wishes she would stop asking him that question. He is annoyed with her, so he speaks sarcastically to...

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Susan Smith eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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