Irony In 'The History Teacher' By Billy Collins

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Irony: A literary device that uses contradictory statements or situations to reveal a reality different from what appears to be true. A state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.

Example: “The children would leave his classroom / for the playground to torment the weak / and the smart” (Collins 14-16).

Function: In “The History Teacher” by Billy Collins, a history teacher lies to his students in order to protect their innocence. This series of events swings full circle and backfires. After the history teacher describes historical events with extreme understatements, “The children would leave his classroom / for the playground to torment the weak / and the smart” (Collins
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