What are a few literary elements used in Stockton's short story "The Lady or the Tiger?"

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Francis R. Stockton uses point of view, verbal irony and ambiguity, among other devices, to tell a story worthy for all literary or writing classes to read and discuss throughout the ages. First, the story is written from a 3rd person, omniscient narrator who describes the thoughts and motivations of the characters. This perspective gives the audience understanding into the thoughts, feelings, and personality of any character. Next, one of the best lines that shows verbal irony is when the king's understanding of his system of justice is announced as "It's perfect fairness is obvious." Clearly, the system is obviously not fair because the punishments do not fit the crimes of those placed in the arena. This line helps to provide tension in the story. Finally, the reader is left with an ambiguous ending that leaves him/her hanging or wondering what the outcome really was. Using this device allows the author to leave a question in the reader's head that must be thought about in a deep way, thereby bringing power to the text and story.

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The Lady or the Tiger?

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