Irony to Stop And Think About What Was Said

Have you ever expected anything to happen but the total opposite happened? This is called irony. Authors use irony to make readers stop and think about what has been said. James Thurber and Liam O’Flaherty’s purpose for using irony in “The Princess and the Tin box” and “The Sniper” was to bring an unexpected turn of events. James Thurbers purpose for using irony in “The Princess and the Tin box” is to entertain the reader. For instance, when the princess was receiving the gift from the 5th prince, “She examined it with great interest and squealed with delight, for all her life she had been glutted with precious stones and princess metals, but she had never seen in before or mica or feldspar or hornblende”.

We expect the princess to pick the 5th princes’ gift because she had never seen anything like it before. She had been showered with expensive gifts, and the tin box was different from all the other gifts.

It was unique.

The story’s outcome is not what readers expect. It comes to us as a shock when we discover that she chooses the 3rd prince. In addition, as the princess is explaining why she chose the 3rd prince, she says “It is a very large and expensive box, and when I am married, I will meet admirers who will give me precious gems with which to fill it to the top”. This is ironic because in fairy tales, the princess always falls for the nice and handsome prince.

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The surprise ending is that she picks the man whose gift was most expensive. This shows that she just cares about money and whatever gift is better, when she should worry about if the man is a good guy. James Thurber used irony successfully by bringing a surprise ending that readers didn’t expect.

Liam O’Flaherty’s purpose for using irony in “The Sniper” is to inform the reader about family relationships and the effects wars can do to people. For example, when the Republican sniper killed the other sniper on the other side of the roof, “he wondered did he know him. Perhaps he had been in his own company before the split of the army”. We expect the sniper to be someone from the other side of the war or a stranger. In a war, its usually someone from the other side of the war or someone who doesn’t feel the same way about the war. Also, when the sniper was walking up to the dead body, “He turned over the dead body and looked into his brother’s face”

This is ironic because people who are family usually share the same beliefs. Since the brothers didn’t have a healthy relationship, one of them lost their life due to the war. As a result, Liam O’Flaherty used irony to inform readers about the consequences of war. Both authors used irony effectively and managed to pull the rug out from under the readers feet. If the sniper never joined the war, then he would’ve never killed his brother. If the princess father didn’t spoil her too much and taught her to be considerate, then maybe she wouldn’t have been so greedy and selfish. When thinking in life we really need to think before we do anything.

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Irony to Stop And Think About What Was Said. (2022, Dec 20). Retrieved from

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