University English 12 | Brave New World
Date Given: March 7/13
Date Due: March 18/13
Chapters 10-12: Irony
Irony is a literary device in which words are used to express a contradiction between appearance and reality—usually the reality is the opposite of what it seems. There are several types of irony:
• Verbal Irony is the use of words to express something different from or opposite to its literal meaning. In other words, don’t take what this person is saying as the bare truth! Sarcasm, overstatement, and understatement (or hyperbole), are all examples of verbal irony.
Example: A mother opens the door to her son’s disaster area of a bedroom and says, “I am so glad you found the time to clean today—your room looks better than ever!”
Example: Think of a scary movie in which you see the killer and where he is hiding, but the soon-to-be victim has no idea that a killer is in her house!
• Situational Irony is a contradiction between what we expect to happen, and what actually happens.
Example: You spend hours washing and waxing your car in the sunshine, only to have it rain the next day, or the fact that the Titanic was hailed as “unsinkable” before it made its mortal voyage!
After you have read chapters 10-12, complete the following assignment. For the following examples from Brave New World, identify first the type of irony; then, explain the irony of the situation. An example has been done for you:
Example: As John realizes he will be going to the “new” world, he says “O brave new world that has such people in it.” Later, as he gets to know this civilization, he again says, “O brave new world that has such people in it.”
Type of Irony: Verbal Irony
Irony: John initially looks forward to the new civilization and all it has to offer, but as he realizes how these people live and what they are subjected to and kept from, he becomes disgusted with the shallowness and soulless society. He said “O brave new world…” the first time with anticipation and excitement; the next time is with disgust and disappointment.
1. As Henry and Lenina fly over the Crematorium, Lenina says, “What a marvellous switch back!” and laughs. The switchback, we learn, is the hot air created by the burning of bodies.
Type of Irony:
2. In Chapter 10, the D.H.C. has decided that he will make a public example of Bernard, and finds the most populated room in which to do it. Bernard arrives, and after being reprimanded by the D.H.C., Bernard introduces Linda and John.
However, he feels even more uncomfortable and must take soma to relax even a little.
Type of Irony:
4. As the D.H.C. tells Bernard about his visit to the reservation, he reminds Bernard that his relationship with the woman was not “indecorous” and to be assured that it was “Nothing emotional, nothing longdrawn. It was all perfectly healthy and normal."
Type of Irony:
5. In the new world, society is happy and healthy. Everyone knows their place in society, and are thankful for the jobs they have been given and for the technology that has made them who they are. There is no war, poverty, or disease. Family, art, religion, philosophy, and uncertainty have been eliminated.