The lexical emotive means and stylistic devices



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Irony


Irony is a literary device in which contradictory statements or situations reveal a reality that is different from what appears to be true. There are many forms of irony featured in literature. The effectiveness of irony as a literary device depends on the reader’s expectations and understanding of the disparity between what “should” happen and what “actually” happens in a literary work. This can be in the form of an unforeseen outcome of an event, a character’s unanticipated behavior, or something incongruous that is said.5

One of the most famous examples of irony in literature comes from The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. In this story, a newly married couple decides independently to sacrifice and sell what means most to themselves in order to purchase a Christmas gift for the other. Unfortunately, the gifts they receive from each other are intended for the very prized possessions they both sold. As a result, though their sacrifices symbolize the love they have for each other, the actual gifts they receive are all but useless.



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