Irony is one of the rhetorical devices in which it it uncovers the difference between the truth and something expected. Predominantly, it detects the misconceptions or the unfairness of a specific situation. (http://figurativelanguage.net/Irony.html) Most of the time, Frederick Douglass used irony in order to uncover the defect in the reasoning of the issue of slavery. For instance, in the third chapter, Douglass made a description about the obssesive care of his previous master named Colonel Lloyd on his horses.
In writing, there are multiple types of irony. One type is verbal irony, when the character says something, but means the opposite. This is commonly recognized as sarcasm. Second, there is situational irony, where the outcome is the opposite of what was expected to happen. Last, there is dramatic irony, where the audience is told or informed of something that the characters do not yet know.
In the novel, “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, IM, or the narrator, uses his oratory skills to persuade and influence whomever his audience is to convey his ideas. One of his most memorable speeches is his eulogy for Tod Clifton. In this speech, he breaks away from the Brotherhood’s blueprints by speaking with no set framework, going against their orders. By speaking on Clifton’s identity, he acknowledges the truth of his invisibility, and really, the truth of every black man's reality and existence. Black men are constantly overlooked and over-dominated in this white man's world.
The narrator defining himself as invisible shows how he feels unrecognized and unseen, and through the novel, he defines this repeatedly. “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me” (Ellison 3). In the prologue, the narrator clarifies that he already showed himself as invisible, though he later says he doesn’t complain. The invisible man’s identity relies on the narrator. Through the novel, the narrator is shown being unseen though as the novel progresses, there is a sense of the narrator losing his invisibility, like when he had disguised himself as Rinehart, he sees an unfamiliar perspective and notices more things that he usually wouldn’t see, or the people that wouldn’t see him before, they saw him then.
1. Irony as we talked about in class is considered to be intellectual or a sort of dry humor. It also has a double meaning, where you say one thing but the opposite meaning is implied. For example, in the reading “SantaLand Diaries” David and another elf realized that Santa is an anagram of Satan. So they would substitute the word for Santa by using Satan in front of customers.
Humanity’s crux and advantage is the need to be seen by others. The human race is constantly improving and trying one-upping each other causing us to evolve-discover new things-at a fast pace; but this need also causes tension and competition to be the ‘most seen’ which leads to wars and mistrust. The Invisible Man’s narrator is only human and so he feels this same desire to be seen but to a somewhat more visceral degree, as he has been told from a young age that life would be easier if he simply ignores that base instinct- and despite getting multiple examples of why his grandfather’s words are true the narrator continues on his plight to be noticed by society. The narrator is naive in his belief that being remembered is an easy task, simply
In this essay from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, I will be discussing the notion of invisibility and where associable the related images of blindness and sight. Using two episodes from the beginning of the novel where the narrator is still perceptually blind to the idea that he is invisible. The first episode occurs just after the battle royal, where the narrator delivers his speech to the white people. The narrator’s speech episode is an integral part of the notion of invisibility, simply because the reader is introduced to different ideas of invisibility connected to the image of blindness. The second episode occurs in the Golden Day with the veteran mocking Norton’s interest in the narrator.
In the novel Invisible Man, the writer Ralph Ellison uses metaphors, point of view, and symbolism to support his message of identity and culture. Throughout the story, the narrator’s identity is something that he struggles to find out for himself. Themes of blindness and metaphors for racism help convey the struggle this character faces, and how it can be reflected throughout the world. One theme illustrated in the novel is the metaphor for blindness. Ellison insinuates that both the white and black men are blind, because they do not truly know each other.
The protagonist in several works of literature is generally plagued by conflicting influences, adding to the overall meaning of the literary work. The Invisible Man’s narrator is the same. As the narrator struggles in pursuit of understanding his invisibility, he finds himself vacillating between influences of Dr. Bledsoe, Brother Jack, and his grandfather. Dr. Bledsoe’s beliefs and actions toward the narrator mark him as invisible, adding to narrator’s inability to advance in life. Dr. Bledsoe explains to the narrator that black people are only able to succeed when they play the white man’s game.
The idea of invisibility is popularly viewed through fiction as examples as a supernatural power, floating cloaks, and magic potions. However, invisibility can have a real impact on people’s mentality, such as on the unnamed narrator in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. The narrator is the “invisible man” of the title and a black man who is living in 1930s America filled with troubling race relations. He feels as the factor of invisibility because of other people’s prejudices and perceptions, which leads to his realization of finding his true identity. Yet, he is unable to overcome his blindness on himself, he falls into the path of other characters’ identities and beliefs on solutions to society’s issues.
Irony is often used in literature to illustrate certain situations to the audience. In some pieces of literature that might be pointing out an unjust system, in others that might be to add a comedic effect, but whatever situation the author wants to illustrate, irony is very beneficial. Through small and witty, one-liners, or a bigger dramatic irony situation contrasting two very different situations, irony can be very beneficial for the reader to understand the story. Both “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins have a corrupt dystopian society. Through the use of irony, the author can portray the corruptness to the audience.
Irony may appear in difference ways within literature. Irony changes our expectations of what might happen. It can create the unexpected twist at the end of a story or anecdote that gets people laughing or crying. Verbal irony is intended to be a humorous type of irony. Situational irony can be either funny or tragic.
For example, in the beginning of the story, the narrator tries to prove to the reader that he is sane. “How, then, am I mad?” Later on in the story, he tells the reader “I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.” This is verbal irony since right after he said that he is sane, he confesses to the reader that he killed the old man. After the narrator asked how he was mad, suspense kept building, making the reader question if he was really sane and going to kill the man, until he actually killed the man.
The novel shows how throughout history, race determines what treatment people receive and can lead to an entire people group feeling invisible. The problematic of history, a shallow mechanistic smugness that blinds itself to the complexities of reality, especially that of racial and cultural difference, and being shown as scientific, is one of the things that create the invisibility of people in this novel (Bourassa 4). In Invisible Man, the narrator states, “Nor is my invisibility exactly a matter of biochemical accident to my epidermis. That invisibility to which I refer occurs because of a peculiar disposition… A matter of the construction of their inner eye, those eyes with which they look through their physical eyes upon reality” (Ellison 4).
Irony is a technique that involves surprising, interesting, or amusing contradictions or contrasts ( Glossary... Pg 1). The greatest example of irony happens when it turns out Armand is the one that comes from black heritage. He learns this when he “finds a letter from his mom to his father explaining how he is black” turning the main plot of this story around (Chopin... Pg 5)