Tải bản đầy đủ

Nghiên cứu tính mỉa mai trong các truyện ngắn của edgar allan poe

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST – GRADUATE STUDIES
**********************

LÊ THỊ HƢƠNG

A STUDY ON IRONY IN SHORT STORIES BY
EDGAR ALLAN POE
(Nghiên cứu tính mỉa mai trong các truyện ngắn của Edgar Allan Poe)

M. A. Minor Program Thesis

Field: English Linguistics
Code: 60220201

HA NOI – 2016


VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

FACULTY OF POST – GRADUATE STUDIES
**********************

LÊ THỊ HƢƠNG

A STUDY ON IRONY IN SHORT STORIES BY
EDGAR ALLAN POE
(Nghiên cứu tính mỉa mai trong các truyện ngắn của Edgar Allan Poe)

M. A. Minor Program Thesis

Field: English Linguistics
Code: 60220201
Supervisor: Trần Thị Thu Hiền, Ph.D

HA NOI – 2016


DECLARATION
I hereby certify my authority of the research submitted entitled “A Study on Irony
in Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for
the degree of Master of Arts.

Hanoi, 2016
Lê Thị Hƣơng

i


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Throughout accomplishing this thesis, namely “A Study on Irony in Short Stories
by Edgar Allan Poe”, several outstanding individuals are integrally involved and
make substantial contributions.
First of all, my deepest gratitude goes to all my lecturers at University of Languages
and International Studies, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, for their endless
enthusiasm and undeniable helpful lectures. I would be very grateful to the staff of
the Post-graduate Department for their support during the time of studying.
I especially would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Dr. Trần
Thị Thu Hiền for her invaluable guidance, insightful comments and endless support
of material. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Ngô Tự Lập for his


discerning comments, helpful advice and inestimable material support.
My thanks are extended to my friends, who gives me wise idea and always ready to
help me whenever I have difficulties. Last but not least, my warmest thanks are due
to my family, especially my mother for their unconditional love and continual
encouragement.
To all mentioned, and to many more, my heart extends the most enormous thanks.

Hanoi, 2016
Lê Thị Hƣơng

ii


ABSTRACT
The research aims at studying irony in Edgar Allan Poe‟s works represented in three
short stories - The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell- Tale Heart, and The Black Cat.
The theory of irony in literature suggested by Muecke (1969) is mainly adopted as
the analytical framework in this study. This research utilizes quantitative and
qualitative methods with priorities given to the qualitative. The data is collected by
means of reading, identifying, classifying and reporting them into the analysis. 31
samples of ironical expressions were found in Poe‟s three short stories, of which
there is one sample both verbal and dramatic ironies. The results show that verbal,
situational and dramatic ironies are mainly used in Poe‟s works. In addition, the
findings reveal that irony can be created by ten techniques in the art of irony
including pretended advice or encouragement to the victim, pretended agreement
with the victim, rhetorical question, innuendo and insinuation, ambiguity, false
statement, internal contradiction, fallacious reasoning, hyperbole and stylistically
signalled irony. This study hopes to bring additional knowledge to learners about
types of irony as well as a typical technique of creating irony in Edgar Allan Poe‟s
short stories in particular and an awareness of using and interpreting irony in
literary works in general.

iii


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
DECLARATION ........................................................................................ i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................... ii
ABSTRACT .............................................................................................. iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS .......................................................................................iv
LIST OF TABLES ...................................... ...........................................................vii
PART A: INTRODUCTION....................................................................................1
1.1. Rationale of the study .................................................................................. 1
1.2. Aims of the study......................................................................................... 1
1.3. Scope of the study ....................................................................................... 2
1.4. Significance of the study ............................................................................. 2
1.5. Research methodology ................................................................................. 2
1.5.1. Research questions ................................................................................... 2
1.5.2. Research methods ..................................................................................... 3
1.5.3. Data collection and analysis ..................................................................... 3
1.6. Design of the study ...................................................................................... 3
PART B: DEVELOPMENT ...................................................................... 5
CHAPTER I:THEORETICAL BACKGROUND AND LITERATURE
REVIEW ................................................................................................... 5
1.1. A brief history of irony studies ................................................................... 5
1.2. Definitions of irony ..................................................................................... 6
1.3. Classification of irony ................................................................................. 7
1.3.1. Verbal irony .............................................................................................. 7
1.3.2. Situational irony ....................................................................................... 8
1.3.3. Dramatic irony ......................................................................................... 9
1.3.4. Romantic irony ....................................................................................... 10
1.4. Essential elements of irony ...................................................................... 11
1.5. Grades of irony .......................................................................................... 12
iv


1.5.1. Overt irony ............................................................................................. 12
1.5.2. Covert irony ............................................................................................ 12
1.5.3. Private irony ........................................................................................... 12
1.6. Detecting and interpreting irony ................................................................ 13
1.7. Previous studies ......................................................................................... 14
CHAPTER II: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY..................................... 16
2.1. Edgar Allan Poe and his works ................................................................. 16
2.1.1. Biography of Edgar Allan Poe ................................................................ 16
2.1.2. Edgar Allan Poe's horror story writing style........................................... 16
2.1.3. Three short stories by Edgar Allan Poe .................................................. 17
2.2. Research questions .................................................................................... 19
2.3. Research methods ...................................................................................... 20
2.4. Data collection ........................................................................................... 20
2.5. Data analysis ............................................................................................. 21
2.6. Research procedures .................................................................................. 22
2.7. Reliability and validity .............................................................................. 22
CHAPTER 3: COMMON TYPES OF IRONY IN EDGAR ALLAN
POE’S SHORT STORIES ....................................................................... 24
3.1. Frequency of use of common types of irony in Poe‟s short stories ............. 24
3.2. Verbal irony............................................................................................... 25
3.2.1. Verbal irony in The Cask of Amontillado ................................................ 25
3.2.2. Verbal irony in The Tell- Tale Heart ...................................................... 27
3.3. Situational irony ........................................................................................ 27
3.3.1. Situational irony in The Cask of Amontillado ......................................... 27
3.3.2. Situational irony in The Tell- Tale Heart ............................................... 30
3.3.3. Situational irony in The Black Cat ......................................................... 31
3.4. Dramatic irony ........................................................................................... 33
3.4.1. Dramatic irony in The Cask of Amontillado ............................................ 33
3.4.2. Dramatic irony in The Tell- Tale Heart ................................................. 34
v


3.4.3. Dramatic irony in The Black Cat ........................................................... 35
CHAPTER 4: THE CREATION OF IRONY IN EDGAR ALLAN POE’S
SHORT STORIES ................................................................................... 36
4.1. Frequency of use of techniques for creating irony in Poe‟s short stories .... 36
4.2. Techniques for creating irony in Poe‟s short stories ................................... 37
4.2.1. Pretended advice or encouragement to the victim .................................. 37
4.2.2. Pretended agreement with the victim .................................................... 37
4.2.3. Rhetorical question ................................................................................. 38
4.2.4. Innuendo and insinuation ....................................................................... 38
4.2.5. Ambiguity ............................................................................................... 38
4.2.6. False statement ...................................................................................... 39
4.2.7. Internal contradiction ............................................................................. 39
4.2.8. Fallacious reasoning .............................................................................. 39
4.2.9. Overstatement ......................................................................................... 40
4.2.10. Stylistically signalled irony ................................................................... 40
4.3. Poe‟s use of irony ..............................................................................................42
4.4.The effects of irony in Poe‟s short stories ................................................... 42
PART C : CONCLUSION .............................................................................. 45
1. Recapitulation ....................................................................................... 45
2. Concluding remarks .............................................................................. 46
3. Implications of the study ....................................................................... 47
3.1. Implications for interpretation of irony in literary works ........................... 47
3.2. Implications for teachers teaching American and English literature ........... 47
3.3. Implications for students learning American and English literature ........... 48
4. Limitation of the study and suggestions for further research .................. 49
REFERENCES ........................................................................................ 50
APPENDICES ............................................................................................ I

vi


List of tables

Table 2.1: Corpus analyzed in the study...................................................................21
Table 3.1: Occurrence and Percentage of types of irony in Poe‟s short stories .......24
Table 4.1: Occurrence and Percentage of techniques for creating irony in Poe‟s
short stories............................................................. .................................................36

vii


PART A: INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale of the study
It is obvious that English has become an important part not only in
communication but also in many other aspects of life; therefore, mastering this
foreign language is of great importance. Learning English through literature works
is a good way. When learning literature works, we can not ignore to study stylistic
devices which

make works more intriguing and interesting. Similarily, when

learning stylistic devices, we can not pay no attention to studying irony. However,
how to study it well is still a difficult question for many learners.
Irony is an interesting language phenomenon used frequently in any spoken or
written genre. Simply, irony is a contrast between what is said and what is meant;
what is expected to happen and what actully happens; or what readers know and
what characters believe. Irony is a rhetorical device in literature which is often
employed to gain the desired effect of being scoffing, satirical, humorous and
amusing. Moreover, real life is full of ironical expressions and situations. Therefore,
the studying of irony in the literature works brings it closer to the life.
Edgar Allan Poe is one of the great American writers; he is also known as a master
of horror and irony who has the ability to use every word to his advantage, thus
creating a short story of great substance. In most of literary criticism dealing with
Edgar Allan Poe, little attention has been accorded to irony. In this sense, this title,
namely “A Study on Irony in Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe” is conducted to
help learners understand irony concepts, identify and interpret types of irony in
Poe‟s short stories in particular and in literature works in general more easily.
1.2. Aims of the study
The study aims at:
(1) finding out common types of irony in Edgar Allan Poe‟s short stories;
(2) investigating the creation of irony in Edgar Allan Poe‟s short stories;
(3) suggesting the implications for teaching and learning irony in literature works.
1


1.3. Scope of the study
Edgar Allan Poe‟s short stories include tale of horror, detective story and science
fiction. As a whole, this paper does not expect to cover irony in all works of Poe.
Poe‟s tales of horror is paid the most attention because of being often written
ironically. Due to the limited time, the data of this paper will only be collected
from three out of Poe‟s typical tales of horror: The Cask of Amontillado, The TellTale Heart, and The Black Cat, three relatively short stories written between the
years 1843-1846. The selected stories are among Poe's masterpieces which
possesses the quintessential-features of the gothic tale: a haunted house, darkness,
terror, madness and death. They are translated into Vietnamese most among Poe‟s
short stories as of 2011 and served as teaching American and English literature at
some Vietnamese universities.
1.4. Significance of the study
Irony is an interesting rhetorical device in literature, thus a detailed and systematic
study on irony has both theoretical and practical significances. Firstly, the study is
expected to provide useful knowledge about types of irony as well as the creation of
irony in Poe‟s short stories. Secondly, the study helps Vietnamese learners of
English better understand and interpret irony in literary works. Moreover, it can
contribute to teaching American and English literature at Vietnamese
universities of foreign languages. Eventually, the study hopes to add to a new
approach to Poe‟s short stories, which creates more diversity in an research area on
Poe‟s short stories latterly.
1.5. Research methodology
1.5.1. Research questions
In order to cover all above aims, the study is to shed light on the following research
questions:
(1) What common types of irony are found in Edgar Allan Poe‟s short stories ?
(2) How is irony created in Edgar Allan Poe‟s short stories?
2


1.5.2. Research methods
Guided by the above research questions, the present study applies quantitative and
qualitative methods based on the data collected from Poe‟s three typical short
stories. In other words, all the conclusions and considerations are based on the
painstakingly quantitative and qualitative analysis of ironic expressions in the three
short stories by Poe. In addition, such methods as descriptive and analytic are also
utilized to describe, and analyze the common types of irony so as to bring out the
creation of irony in Poe‟s short stories.
1.5.3. Data collection and analysis
Ironic expressions will be collected from the three famous short stories - The Cask
of Amontillado, The Tell- Tale Heart, and The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe issued
on the Internet.
The data will be both quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed. Quantitatively, the
data will be analyzed in terms of the frequencies of verbal, situational, and dramatic
ironies suggested by Muecke (1969:40-42) and in terms of the occurrences of the
techniques for creating irony in Poe‟s short stories. Qualitatively, the data will be
described, analyzed, and explained the types of irony as well as the techniques for
creating irony in Poe‟s short stories.
1.6. Design of the study
In order to make this thesis conventional and well organized, the minor thesis
includes three main parts as follows:
Part A: Introduction – This part will cover some points including the rationale, the aims,
the scope, the significance, research methodology, and the organization of the study.
Part B: Development – This part has been elaborated four chapters as follows:
Chapter I: Theoretical background and Literature review provides the theoretical
background related to the study such as a brief history of irony studies, definitions
of irony, types of irony, essential elements of irony, grades of irony, and detecting
and interpreting irony. Then, a review of related studies will also be discussed.
3


Chapter II: Research methodology details the methods and the procedures of the
research. This chapter will also reckon with the description of samples and how
the data are collected, described and analyzed.
Chapter III: Common types of irony in Edgar Allan Poe‘s short stories presents a
thoroughly quantitative analysis of the frequencies of verbal, situational, and
dramatic ironies and qualitative analysis of the types of irony in Poe‟s short
stories.
Chapter IV: The creation of irony in Edgar Allan Poe‘s short stories specifies how
irony is created and the frequency of the techniques for creating irony in Poe‟s three
famous short stories. In addition, the effects of irony in the short stories will be
made clear.
Part C: Conclusion – The final part reviews the main points and gives
concluding remarks. Also, some implications, limitations as well as further
studies are pointed out. References and Appendices are also included.

4


PART B: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER I: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND AND
LITERATURE REVIEW
1.1. A brief history of irony studies
Irony is an important language device which has drawn much attention from many
linguists and scholars.The scholarly investigation into irony has a very old history
and a very broad base. The historical and contemporary studies of irony can also be
found in fields as diverse as literature studies (Muecke, 1970; Booth, 1974;
Ellestrom, 2002), linguistics (Wilson & Sperber, 1981, 1986, 1998; Clark & Gerrig,
1984; Clark, 1996; Barbe, 1995), pragmatics (Grice, 1975, 1989; Searle, 1979;
Haverkate, 1990; Glucksberg, 1995; Attardo, 2000), and more.
Muecke (1970:14) reasonably states that giving a precise antiquity of the term
irony is not an easy task since the word had been used long before it was named.
However, it is possible to trace its root back to its first known integration into the
human language as the Greek word eironeia. Initially, the word irony has its root in
Greek

comedy

and

derives

from

Eiron,

meaning

“dissembler”,

who

characteristically spoke in understatement and pretended to be less intelligent than
he was, yet triumphed over the alazon - the self-deceiving and stupid braggart
(Abrams, 1999: 134-135). Not until the early eighteen century did the word irony
come into general use. Since its appearance, this term has developed gradually and
expanded its meanings.
Traditional theories, according to Jorgensen et al. (1984:112), assume ―that an
ironist uses a figurative meaning opposite to the literal meaning of the utterance‖.
In semantic theory, irony is often described as a rhetorical device together with
metaphor, metonymy, hyperbole and litotes and is a form of non-literal language
(Saeed, 2009) cited by Jönsson (2010: 4). The rhetoricians considered irony one of
the master devices namely trope which a figure of speech that means the opposite

5


of what is literally said. A person saying “What lovely weather” on a rainy day is
using the figurative meaning, “What terrible weather.”
Grice‟s approach (1975: 53) identifies irony as a conversational implicature that
violates the cooperative principle and the maxim of quality. The classic pragmatic
theory of Grice and Searle maintains that listeners first analyze the literal meanings
of speakers' utterances, see these meanings as contextually inappropriate, and then
derive the correct nonliteral interpretation given the cooperative principle or the
rules of speech acts. A speaker's tone of voice supposedly provides an important cue
to listeners in inferring ironic meaning.
Modern theories, Attardo et al. (2009:407) see irony as a type of echoic mention, in
which speakers echo, or repeat, a previously stated utterance or belief, which in
context is recognized as conveying ironic meaning. Readers, in fact, find it easier to
process and judge the ironic meanings of utterances when they echo or paraphrase
some earlier statement.
Another proposal by Clark and Gerrig (1984:121-126) suggests that pretense is the
key to irony. The central idea of this approach that speaker expressing an ironic
utterance pretends to be borrowing an attitude which is not their own. The ironic
speaker is pretending to be someone else and ridicules the opinion and the person it
is attributed to.
1.2. Definitions of irony
Muecke (1969:5-6) in his book The Compass of Irony, one of standard works in
literary study of irony, states that ―the art of irony is the art of saying something
without really saying it. It is an art that gets its effect from below the surface, and
gives it a quality that resembles the depth and resonance of great art triumphantly
saying much more than it seems to be saying‖. Irony is considered as "ways of
speaking, writing, acting, behaving, painting, etc., in which the real or intended
meaning presented or evoked is intentionally quite other than, and incompatible
with, the ostensible or pretended meaning‖ (Muecke, 1969:53). It is a technique of
using words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning
6


or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of
the idea.
Thompson (1948:10) describes irony as ―a discrepancy or incongruity between
expression and meaning, appearance and reality, or expectation and event. Irony is
an opposition between the surface meaning of something that is said and the underlying
meaning, between expectations for a situation and what actually occurs, what readers
knows more about circumstances or future events in the story and what the
characters know or believe within it. In order to meet the aims of the study, this
investigation uses the traditional definition of irony suggested by Muecke (1969)
and Thompson (1948).
1.3. Classification of irony
Muecke (1969:40-42) assures that there are four basic types of irony, namely
verbal, situational, romantic, and dramatic ironies. Due to Muecke not detailing
these types of irony, their definitions introduced by Abrams (1999) and
Ellestrom (2002) are applied.
1.3.1. Verbal irony
Verbal irony is defined as a sharp opposition between what is said or written and
what is meant. The intended meaning of a statement differs from the meaning that the
words appear to express. Abrams (1999: 135) defines verbal irony as ―a statement in
which the meaning that a speaker implies differs sharply from the meaning that is
ostensibly expressed‖. The term was coined by Thirlwall (1833), who describes it
as ―a figure which enables the speaker to convey his meaning with greater force by
means of a contrast between his thought and his expression, or, to speak more
accurately, between the thought which he evidently designs to express, and that which
his words properly signify‖ cited by Ellestrom (2002:50).
Verbal irony is quite common in literature works. It can be found in all genres,
including novels, short stories, plays, and poems. An illustrative example of a
verbal irony in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare is what happened to Juliet‟s
marriage. Juliet is upset at being told that her father has promised her hand in
7


marriage to Paris rather than Romeo, who she loves. She fully makes up her mind to
be married to Romeo, so she ironically states to her mother ―I will not marry yet;
and, when I do, I swear it will be Romeo, whom you know I hate, rather than Paris.‖
Verbal irony is mainly the intentional product of speakers. Speakers say what is
intentionally contradictory to their actions and emotions (Ellestrom, 2002:50). Two
conditions must be met for a successful communication of verbal irony: the speaker
must intentionally produce the ironic statement to the listener; the speaker and the
listener must share common factual background information with each other. Only
if the hearer knows the circumstances (for example, the speaker and the hearer are
standing in the rain together and they shares mutal understanding of the need for
good weather), it is possible for a comment: ―What lovely weather!‖ to be
recognized as ironic. If the speaker has no opposite intention and the listener knows
nothing about the background information, the verbal irony may fail. In fiction,
―verbal irony depends on knowledge of fictional speaker‘s ironic intention, which is
shared both the speaker and the reader‖ (Abrams & Harpham, 2009: 166).
Kreuz & Roberts (1993: 99) consider sarcasm as a subtype of verbal irony, where
―the attitude expressed is typically negative and directed toward an individual or a
group‖. Sarcasm is an overtly aggressive type of irony, with clearer markers and a
clear target. In most cases, sarcasm is used to insult or to hurt the other participant
of a given communicative event, while irony is used to convey, usually, the
opposite meaning of the actual things you say, but its purpose is not intended to hurt
the other person. For example, if a speaker says, ―You are really brilliant!‖ to
someone who has done a thoughtless act, the utterances is sarcastic. In contrast, if a
speaker claims, ―They tell me you‘re a slow runner.‖ to someone who has just won
a marathon race, the utterance is ironic.
1.3.2. Situational irony
Situational irony, sometimes called irony of events, is most broadly defined as ―a
situation where the outcome is incongruous with what was expected, but it is also
more generally understood as a situation that includes contradictions or sharp
8


contrasts‖ (Ellestrom, 2002:51). A situation is considered situational irony when
what happens is opposite to what was naturally expected to occur in that particular
context or environment. Verbal irony typically involves a conflict between an
expression and a situation, whereas situational irony involves the irony in the
situation itself (Colston, 1997:44). Thus, unlike verbal irony, situational irony is
unintentional. Situational irony pertains to a sharp discrepancy between expected
results and actual results in a certain situation.
Situational irony occurs in literature and drama when persons or events come
together in improbable situations, creating a tension between expected and real
results. If the character is unaware that what he is saying differs from reality, it is
situational not verbal irony. This type of irony also contains a twist in plot (surprise
ending) at the end of a story. The character thinks everything is solved; however, at
that point, it begins to go wrong. Because this type of irony emerges from the events
and circumstances of a story, it is often more subtle and effective than verbal or
dramatic ironies.
The most extreme example of situational irony in ―The Ransom of Red Chief‖ by
O‟Henry is the reversal of the kidnapping. The child who is kidnapped is more
dangerous than his kidnappers. In place of the kidnappers demanding for money to
return the kid, his parents demand for them money to take him back. They also ask
the kidnappers to bring him home at night because the neighbors are happy when he
is gone. The entire situation is reversed and the criminals end up running away.
1.3.3. Dramatic irony
Dramatic irony is considered as the reader‟s understanding of events or individuals
in a work surpasses that of its characters, the reader know more about the situation,
truth or ending than the character. Abrams (1999:136-137) describes dramatic irony
as a situation in a play or a narrative in which the audience or reader shares with the
author knowledge of present or future circumstances of which a character is
ignorant; in that situation, the character unknowingly acts in a way contrary to that
which is appropriate or wise, or expects the opposite of what we know that fate
9


holds in store, or says something that anticipates the actual outcome, but not at all
in the way that the character intends.
Dramatic irony is often used in a dramatic works to create a tension or conflict
between the information presented by the audience and the expectations of the
protagonist, who lacks such information (Kalbermatten, 2006: 5). A classical
example can be seen in the love story Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
Juliet is forced to take a sleeping potion in order to escape marring Paris.
Dramatic irony happens later in the last scene when Romeo finds Juliet and
believes her to be dead. Romeo kills himself with this false knowledge. After
waking up and finding Romeo truly dead, Juliet kills herself as well. In this
situation, the audience has foreseen the tragic ending before long Romeo and
Juliet recognizes his own errors.
Dramatic irony and situational irony can be subsumed under the structural irony,
which means ―the author introduces a structural feature that serves to sustain a
duplex meaning and evaluation throughout the work‖ (Abrams & Harpham, 2009:
166). Structural irony depends on the structure of a work rather than its use of
words. It is a type of irony developed through the author‟s narrative structure and
exists merely between an unrealiable character and his readers. Structural irony
depends on readers to speculate the real ironic intention of the author or the narrator.
Dramatic irony is frequently contrasted with verbal irony. The former is embedded
in a work‟s structure, whereas the latter typically operates at the level of words and
sentences that are understood by audiences or readers to carry meanings different
from the words themselves when interpreted literally. Dramatic irony is also
sometimes equated with situational irony.
1.3.4. Romantic irony
Romantic irony is a term introduced by Friedrich Schlegel and other German
writers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to designate a mode of
dramatic or narrative writing in which the author builds up the illusion of
representing reality, only to shatter it by revealing that the author, as artist, is the
10


creator and arbitrary manipulator of the characters and their actions. This type of
irony, involving a self-conscious narrator, has become a recurrent mode in the
modern form of involuted fiction Abrams (1999:136-137).
There are four basic types of irony, namely verbal, situational, romantic and
dramatic ironies suggested by Muecke (1969:40-42). However, three types of
irony: verbal, situational and dramatic are considered in this paper as they are
applicable to irony situations in literary works in general.
1.4. Essential elements of irony
Muecke (1969:53) elaborates on the pragmatic aspect of irony by referring to three key
elements. The first place irony is a two-storey phenomenon, where a lower level
encompasses the situation as it appears to the so-called „victim‟ of irony deceptively
presented by the ironist and an „upper level‟ presents the situation as it appears to the
observer or the ironist. Similarly, Sperber and Wilson (1981), Clark and Gerrig (1984),
Barbe (1995), Baena (2005) quoted by Kalbermatten (2006:108) point out that in every
ironic utterance there is a speaker who has the intention of being ironic and a target or
victim of the speaker‟s irony. In the second place there is always some opposition
between the two levels, an opposition that may take the form of contradiction,
incongruity, or incompatibility. What is said may be contradicted by what is meant; what
the victim thinks may be contradicted by what the ironist knows. In the third place there
is in irony an element of innocence, either the victim is confidently unaware of the very
possibllity of there being an upper level or point of view that invalidates his own, or an
ironist pretends not to be aware of it.
For instance, only if the hearer knows the situation that a woman has done
something harmful to the speaker and the speaker state a positive, ―She‘s really a
good friend!‖. In this case, the listener understand that the woman being mentioned
is the victim of the speaker‟s irony and the speaker has an intention to show to the
listener the opposite meaning ―She‘s really not a good friend.‖. Obviously, the

11


speaker‟s reaction to the woman is one of disappointment but he/she expresses it ironically - as pleasure.
1.5. Grades of irony
Muecke (1969:52-61) resolves the problem of classification by grading irony into three
classes according to the degree of subtlety: overt irony, covert irony or private irony.
1.5.1. Overt irony
With overt irony both speaker and hearer (or writer and reader) participate actively
but at different points. The speaker produces the irony intentionally and the hearer
understands almost immediately the true intent of the irony. This kind of irony is
often associated with sarcasm and may involve the ironist using gestures such as
curled lip or raised eyebrow to reinforce the point. Overt irony is often overused,
and the irony quickly lost.
1.5.2. Covert irony
Covert irony, just like overt irony, must be noticed in order to function as irony.
What distinguishes covert irony from overt irony is that covert irony is intended not
to be seen but rather to be detected. Covert irony is more difficult to detect than
overt irony. Overt irony is grasped immediately whereas covert irony requires
greater sensitivity to the text. This is because ―the covert ironist will aim at
avoiding any tone or manner or any stylistic indication that would reveal his irony‖
(Muecke, 1969:56). Of course, the covert ironist may go undetected and the
intended effect will be lost on its victim. Thus, the author using covert irony must
provide sufficient cues so that the reader can interpret irony correctly.
1.5.3. Private irony
Private irony is a quite subtle form of irony, as the title suggests it is not meant to be
shared with the victim or others for that matter. The irony is in the eyes of the
beholder who gets satisfaction from being undetected in his or her techniques.
Muecke (1969:59) affirms that private irony ―is not intended to be perceived either
by the victim or anyone else‖. The ironist so well hides his or her true intent that it
is inscrutable. They use irony only for their own amusement. An outsider can
12


recognize private irony only in a written work where one character is marked
somehow as a private ironist. The other characters are unware of the
protagonist‟s use of irony. Indeed, only some of the readers may catch on to it.
Private irony can not be recognized in spoken discourse since by the definition it
excludes recognition by other.
1.6. Detecting and interpreting irony
Booth (1974, 1978) qouted by Yoder (2008:35-40) provides clues for the detection
and reconstruction of irony. He describes five specific kinds of clues that an author
can provide in order to help the reader to correctly identify the ironic utterances.
Clue 1. The author may give explicit signs in title, epigraphs,etc. to indicate the use
of irony. These kind of clues are straightforward and helpful when supplied.
Clue 2. The author asserts known errors. The indicators of irony occur when a
known error is proclaimed such as conventional wisdom is flaunted or historical
facts misreported or an absurd premise asserted. The mere presence of these errors
is not sufficient to detect irony, but they are strong indicators.
Clue 3. The author contradicts himself or herself within his/her writings. A conflict
suggests that the author may be speaking ironically through one of the characters in
the dialogues.
Clue 4. The author‟s own style or words is inconsistent or incongruous relative to the
meaning or the author‟s usual practice. A sudden change in style is one way that a
written work can apply to mimic the tonal clues that an ironic speaker has at her disposal.
Clue 5. There is a conflict between the text as it is given and the author‟s known or
expected beliefs. In this circumstance, the reader is so familar with the author‟s way of
thinking that the reader is able to discern the true beliefs of the author even if the true
belief is never directly stated. In cases where the irony is particularly subtle and covert, it
is perhaps necessary for more than one clue to be present in order to confidently interpret
the author‟s intent. At the very least, the more telling clues are needed.
In discussing his four modes of irony (impersonal, self-disparaging, ingenuous and
dramatized), Muecke (1969: 64-92) cited by Lemieux (1991:9) enumerates twenty
13


basic techniques which can be used under mode of impersonal irony. All four of his
modes are dependent on the ironist‟s method of presenting the irony. Muecke's
twenty techniques play a crucial role in identifying irony encountered in literature
works. For the purposes of this study, the researcher is interested in applying his
techniques as the main ways in creating irony in Adgar Allan Poe‟s three short
stories. These twenty techniques include: ―praising in order to blame, blaming in
order to praise, pretended agreement with the victim, pretended advice or
encouragement to the victim, rhetorical question, pretended doubt, innuendo and
insinuation, irony by analogy, ambiguity, pretended omission of censure, pretended
attack

upon

the

victim's

opponent,

pretended

defence

of

the

victim,

misrepresentation or false statement, internal contradiction, fallacious reasoning,
understaternent, overstatement, irony displaced, and stylistically signalled irony.
Related to the final category of stylistically signaled irony, Ramos (2000) cited by
Shively et al. (2008:104) affirms that linguistic cues such as syntactic structures and
vocabulary choices are used for ironic purposes.
1.7. Previous studies
Due to the limited time, the writer has only focused on some researches
implemented in Vietnam in the recent years.
Regarding the study on irony in short stories, the first research is a Graduation paper
by Hoàng Anh Tuấn (2010) entitled ―A Study on Irony in some O‘Henry‘s Short
Stories‖. The researcher introduces basic knowledge on some types of irony in
English, gives expression of irony in some O‟Henry‟s short stories and attempts to
find out the similarities and differences in irony in O‟Henry‟s short stories and
Nguyễn Công Hoan‟s. Thanks to this comparison, learners can have better
understanding about irony in short stories in two languages. However, the concept
of irony quoted is not clear and the analysis is not deep.
Another research concerning Edgar Allan Poe, the writer has specially noted on the
two most recent Ph.D dissertations in Vietnamese: “Sự Tiếp Nhận Edgar Allan Poe
ở Việt Nam” by Hoàng Kim Oanh (2011) and “Nghệ Thuật Xây Dựng Cốt Truyện
14


của Edgar Allan Poe‖ by Ngô Bích Thu (2014). The dissertation by Hoàng Kim
Oanh, which is very meticulous and hightly scientific, focuses on studying
systematically Poe‟s reception history in terms of research, criticism, composition,
translation and teaching in Vietnam from the early twentieth century to 2011.
Specially, tables and charts, statistic figures of translating and researching Poe‟s
works which are useful reference to studying Poe‟s works in the years to come are
synthesized and classified specifically. This work not only brings about the useful
knowledge on Edgar Allan Poe but gives readers the interest in investigating Edgar
Allan Poe‟s different aspects.
The Ph.D dissertation by Ngô Bích Thu (2014) offers

an overview of the

researching works in Vietnamese and in English in order to clarify the
significance of this new approach. More importantly, the author succeeds in
examining Poe‟s art of building plot in the matter of tales of horror, detective story
and science fiction. Thereby, the thesis sets out solving the issues related to genres
such as tales of horror, detective story and science fiction. Simutaniously, the
research clarifies the influence of Edgar Allan Poe on the generation of writers and
artists all over the world including Vietnam and affirms Poe‟s great dedication to
the process of modernizing the United States and world literature.
Despite existing the study on irony in literature and the literary studies dealing
with Edgar Allan Poe in Vietnam, none of them has treated irony as an artistic
device in Poe‟s works. That is why the present study is carried out to fill the gap of
the previous studies, add and diversify the study of Poe‟s short story.
This chapter serves as the theoretical foundation for the study and provides a brief
overview of different irony concepts with the focus on the theory of irony
introduced by Muecke (1969). Moreover, some outstanding studies that are related
to the present paper are discussed at the end of the chapter so that readers and the
writer can reach an agreement on what has achieved in this research field.

15


CHAPTER II: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
2.1. Edgar Allan Poe and his works
2.1.1. Biography of Edgar Allan Poe
Born in Boston, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was orphaned as a young child and
taken in by the Allan family of Richmond Virginia. Poe and the Allans eventually
had a falling out because of Poe‟s irresponsible behavior. This situation was
characteristic of Poe‟s short and tragic life. Despite his personal difficulties and
unstable temperament, Poe is a literary genius of nineteenth-century American
literature. He is an American author, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the
American Romantic Movement; poet as pioneers of Symbolism. Best known for the
short-story form, he is the father of tales of horror and the inventor of the detective
fiction genre. He is further credited with setting the foundation for genre of science
fiction and psychoanalytic story latter. Poe and his works have influenced literature
in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as
cosmology and cryptography. Edgar Allan Poe is also the first American writer who
entered Vietnamese Literary since the early twentieth century. Two hundred years
have passed, Edgar Poe is not only a possession of American Literature but also “a
precious thing” of mankind including Vietnamese.
2.1.2. Edgar Allan Poe's horror story writing style
In addition to his place among Gothic authors, Edgar Allan Poe is known as the
grandfather of horror in American Literature. He has unique style in expressing his
works. Poe's criterion for the length of a short story is that all stories should limit to
a single sitting. Death which brings readers to a mystery and horror plays a major
part in many of his writings. He blends the hatred, anger, despair, insanity and
suffer from loss, as in his srories. Besides these criteria, Edgar Allan Poe uses many
different elements of style in his writing techniques.
Most commonly, it would be included point-of-view. Edgar Allan Poe used the
narrator as the teller of the story to make the story seems real as if we lived those
16


Tài liệu bạn tìm kiếm đã sẵn sàng tải về

Tải bản đầy đủ ngay

×