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Irony is a method of assertion used by authors in literature and poetry Although many writers have employed this literary technique for centuries the meaning of the word can be difficult to understand This essay will help to describe the correct meaning of this diverse word and illustrate how it is usedThe Canadian Intermediate Dictionary defines irony as a method of expression in which the meaning intended is the opposite of that expressed 613 This statement is true although it is an extremely basic definition since irony has been used in numerous ways that will be discussed and illustrated later in this essay The definition indicated proposes that irony could be closely related to terms such as satire or sarcasm Satire is defined as the use of biting often bitter wit especially in the form of irony or sarcasm Canadian Intermediate Dictionary 1012 Its relation to irony is obvious by its given meaning but the word satire has a slightly different connotation It is used to express folly or to ridicule and criticize something or someone Jonathan Swift portrays satire well in his essay A Modest Proposal He makes an ironic statement against the British Government and how they are managing the Irish people He suggests that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old most delicious nourishing and wholesome food whether stewed roasted baked or boiled and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasse or a ragout Findlay 11 His statement is obviously ridiculous but he means the opposite of what he is saying His point is to communicate the harsh feelings he has towards the British because they have treated the starving Irish children poorlyIrony has many varieties from the deeply philosophical to the viscerally personal These varieties vary according to the moral or psychological impetus behind them but also according to the literary forms they take as in dramatic irony where we know more
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