Irony is usually a contradiction between what's expected to happen and what actually happens. A fine example would be the day I ordered a birthday cake for a friend and I bought it with secure shipping. To my dismay, the box was in perfect condition yet the cake came horribly battered and mishapened.

The poem of "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson was about a quiet, wealthy man who had everything as he "was ich - yes, richer than a king". He was always richly dressed from head to toe, clean, and had a good figure-"a gentleman from sole to crown, clean favored and imperially slim" - or so people thought. These same people revered him not just for his riches but also because he was very well educated. In an ironic twist of fate, he commits suicide in the very last line of the poem which is surprising since the poem is describes Cory as a man who is living the life most people dream of. Richard Cory was envied and loved by his fellow townspeople due to his success and wealth as shown by one of the lines: "In fine we thought that he was everything to make us wish that we were in his place" but obviously he was not very happy with it despite how well off he was. His fate is foreshadowed by the poem's pitiful tone. It is pity for a man who has what a commoner dreams of but never being saisfied with it's internal strifes. As a matter of fact, it is a member of the town itself so pitifully narrating the poem.

"The Lamb" by Roald Dahl is about a woman who kills her own husband. Irony is important here in this story due to the moods and the personalities of the characters themselves. Mr. Patrick Maloney and Mrs. Mary Maloney are a married almost with a family. Mrs. Maloney is described as a woman who "was content to sit quietly, enjoying his company after the long hours alone in the house. She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man, and to feel-almost as a sunbather feels the sun-that warm male glow that came out of him to her when they were alone together. She loved him for the way he sat loosely in a chair, for the way he came in a door, or moved slowly across the room with long strides. She loved intent, far look in his eyes when they rested in her, the funny shape of the mouth, and especially the way he remained silent about his tiredness, sitting still with himself until the whiskey had taken some of it away." She is clearly infatuated with husband.

Later in the story and her husband come. However the usual outine of what happens when he gets home goes awry. "And as he spoke, he did an unusual thing. He lifted his glass and drained it in one swallow although there was still half of it, at least half of it left. She wasn't really watching him, but she knew what he had done because she heard the ice cubes falling back against the bottom of the empty glass when he lowered his arm. He paused a moment, leaning forward in the chair, then he got up and went slowly over to fetch himself another." Here, "It wasn't till then that she began to get frightened." you can tell that Mrs. Maloney is losing composure due to Mr. Maloney's ominous actions. "Listen, he said. Ive got something to tell you." Here in this quote, can notice Mr. Maloney is going to unleash a dark truth. Just after " This is going to be a bit of a shock to you, I'm afraid, he said. But I've thought about it a good deal and Ive decided the only thing to do is tell you right away. I hope you won't blame me too much. And he told her. It didn't take long, four or five minutes at most, and she stayed very still through it all, watching him with a kind of dazed horror as he went further and further away from her with each word." Patrick Maloney tells Mary Maloney a secret of his that has apparently made Mary Maloney very scared and threatened. "Her first instinct was not to believe any of it, to reject it all. It occurred to her that perhaps he hadn't even spoken, that she herself had imagined the whole thing. Maybe, if she went about her business and acted as though she hadn't been listening, then later, when she sort of woke up again, she might find none of it had ever happened." Here, Mrs. Maloney is trying to cope with the shock of hearing what Mr. Maloney had said to her. However, as the story progresses, it shows Mrs. Maloney as clearly not being able to handle the attack Mr. Maloney had made to her and in turn this foreshadows the fate of Mr. Maloney.

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© Hector Salcedo '09