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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What are three examples of irony in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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VERBAL IRONY.  When Scout "split my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth" in Chapter 9, her cousin Francis cries that Scout "called me a whore-lady and jumped on me!" Scout was going through a cussing phrase and must have picked up the term at school, or she certainly wouldn't have issued it to a boy!

SITUATIONAL IRONY.  When the lynch mob comes to the jail in Chapter 15, they ask Atticus if Tom is inside.

"He is," we heard Atticus whisper, "and he's asleep. Don't wake him up."

So, the men who have come to kill Tom respect his need for rest and continue the rest of their conversation in whispers--just as Atticus has demanded. 

DRAMATIC IRONY.  When Scout, with Jem and Dill, arrive at the jail just as the lynch mob is about to take Tom away in Chapter 15, Scout innocently asks Mr. Cunningham how he is doing. The others present understand the life-and-death situation that is unfolding--as does the reader--but the children do not. Scout shames the men into leaving, but she still doesn't understand the gravity of the situation. When Atticus turns away so the children do not see his tears, Scout unknowingly asks,

"What's the matter?"

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