Salman Rushdie

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What are examples of verbal and situational irony in "In the South" by Salman Rushdie?

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In the story "In the South" by Salman Rushdie, Junior and Senior insult one another all the time, so it can be seen that they are using verbal irony. Their ritual of insulting each other is like a duel between virtuosos of Carnatic music. Also, when Senior says that he is proud of his son for being an engineer, even though he is interested in literature and religion, it can be seen as situational irony.

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Situational irony is created when there is a discrepancy between what we would expect to happen in a given situation or set of circumstances and what actually happens in that situation. The most common example I hear is that the firehouse burns down; one would not expect a building in which all the fire fighters live and work to be destroyed by a fire. Certainly, situational irony is created when Senior is the character who remains alive in the end when he "was the one who had asked for death." First, his best friend, Junior, dies when two girls on a Vespa drive a little too close to him, forcing him to trip and fall and hit his head on the concrete. Then, a tsunami hits and wipes out "so many others," including Junior's friend, D'Mello, and "left [Senior] untouched." It is ironic that the one person who wants to die is spared by death over and over. It is also an example of situational irony that both Junior and Senior have the same name that begins with V and both dislike it so much—calling it "the Name That Could Not Be Spoken"—that they end up going by Senior and Junior instead.

Verbal irony is created when someone says the opposite of what they mean. Senior and Junior insult each other all the time; for example, Senior tells Junior, "you are slow—that is beyond a doubt." Clearly Senior does not actually believe that Junior is slow, or else he would not choose to interact with him, preferring him to his own family. Further, the narrator describes their interactions as "rhythmic dialogues" or like the "'duels' of the virtuosos of Carnatic music during the annual December festival." Obviously, Junior is not slow, but the men's "ritual" is to insult one another.

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