Honors English 2
Oh The Irony
In the words of George Saunders “Irony is just honesty with the volume cranked up”.
Irony is used to help the reader understand situations and realize the deeper meaning of the theme. Irony helps develop the theme of standing up for what one believes in, within the stories
“The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses”, “Dead Man’s Path”, and “How Much Land Does A Man
“The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses” displays irony through the characterization of Brille because he is described as scrawny and little but stands up for what he believes in. In the story
Brille was characterized as being a very small and weak man, he comes off as very non intimidating. The author writes, “He was a thin little fellow with his hollowed-out chest and comic knobbly knees” (Head, 234). The irony is in his characterization because it says even though he was so small he could hurt others mentally. He hurts the warder by, ‘driving him to suicide” (Head, 238). This shows that even though Brille is small and may seem insignificant, he uses his wit and intelligence to stand up for himself and what he believes in. Brille’s characterization as someone who is small and week doesn’t hold him back from standing up for what he believes in. The reader expects Brille to be pushed around but instead is someone for the warder to be reckoned with.
Irony is also shown in the closing of the school in “Dead Men’s Path” because Obi and the priest stood up for what they believe in and how the school should run, but because of their lack of compromise the school shuts down. Obi had his sights set on being able to modernize the school in the text it says “everything will just be modern and delightful” (Achebe, 1). He thought it would be the best thing to happen for the school, and he wouldn’t let anything or anybody change his mind about what he thinks and believes in. The Priest on the other hand was completely the opposite, he says “but we follow the practices of our Fathers” (Achebe, 3). He thought the school should stay like it was in the past and nothing should be tampered with, especially the path. They both stood up for what they believed should happen the the school, but they couldn’t compromise so the school shut down.
Moreover, in the story “How Much Land Does A Man Need” Pahom believes that everybody should have a chance at a good life, but he ironically dies trying to get a better life. In the story Pahom says to himself “We peasants will always die as we are living” (Tolstoy, 1). He…