Kiss And Tell Analysis

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In Kiss and Tell, Alain de Botton humorously describes a situation between tactless and socially oblivious parents and their uncomfortable adult daughter, Isabel, who is on a date with her new boyfriend. Using immaturity and a lack of etiquette in the actions of the characters, multiple examples of irony, and the anticipation of Isabel’s father’s actions which all ultimately lead to a comedic effect, de Botton produces a universal experience that brings humor to the audience while commenting on family dynamics.
To depict the immaturity and lack of etiquette in the actions of the characters, de Botton uses juxtaposition in the setting, onomatopoeia, and other literary devices. De Botton intentionally sets his story in a theater with an “elegantly
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As soon as Isabel notices her parents are attending the same show as her and her new boyfriend, she intricately details their current state and, in turn, this detail-orientation creates amusement. Isabel begins her description by comparing her mother’s outfit to a “willow tree”. De Botton uses this simile disguised as an insult to portray Isabel’s mother’s character as one of whom Isabel does not approve; it additionally implies her old age from which Isabel wishes to distance herself. Furthermore, de Botton foreshadows family crisis and turmoil in his introduction suggesting that Isabel’s mother has multiple “gentleman friends” as Isabel hopes “she didn’t come with one” of them. Not only is her mother unfaithful to her father, but, “with any luck, they’ll be too busy arguing to glance up” at Isabel and her date indicating an unhappy marriage. This whole opening passage filled with the negative qualities of her family is ironic as she explicitly reveals every secret she desires to keep from her new date despite her efforts in avoiding her family. Additionally, Isabel and her new boyfriend, as well as Isabel’s parents, are watching a “Spanish domestic drama”. This is ironic because the event de Botton unfolds is a domestic drama in itself. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a…show more content…
From the beginning, before Isabel’s parents saw her, she desperately hoped her parents would “be too busy arguing to glance up here” because “Mum [would] be asking Dad where he put the car park ticket and he [would] get flustered because he [would have] just dropped it into a bin by mistake”. When her first hope is crushed as her dad notices her right after readers are left to wonder about the clumsiness of her father and Isabel’s guess about the situation between her parents. This creates anticipation among readers as they are forced to continue the story in order to find out whether Isabel is correct about her father. Being an already established comedic situation through de Botton’s use of other device, readers expect irony, a previously used device as well as a common device used for comedic effect but their expectations are upset when Isabel proves to be right about her parents, specifically the actions of her father. Once the anticipation has built up at the end, readers are provided comedic relief with the result different from the previously used irony. Mrs. Rogers begins by informing Isabel that her “day would be fine if [she] wasn’t lumbered with someone who kept losing tickets to the car park” revealing that
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