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Irony in Kate Chopin’s Lilacs and Other Stories

In David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction, he talks about Irony in chapter 39. He states that “irony consists of saying the opposite of what you mean or inviting an interpretation different from the surface meaning of your words.”  In Kate Chopin’s Beyond the Bayou there is irony found in the act of la Folle’s saving of Cheri. La Folle, the protagonist, loves the son of P’tit Maitre, Cheri, as if he was her own.  La Folle was unable to go “beyond the bayou” because of the trauma in seeing   P’tit Maitre “black with powder and crimson with blood”, while in the Bayou. Towards the end of the story, La Folle encounters Cheri shot by his own gun and wounded. The only way to save him was to cross the Bayou to the other side of the river. It is ironic how she would go beyond the bayou because of  a traumatic event but what ended up making her to go was something equally traumatic .

Lodge also says, “When a reader is made aware of a disparity between the facts of a situation and the character’ understanding of it, an effect called “dramatic irony” is generated.” In the story, La Belle Zoraide,  Manna Loulou tells the tale of forbidden love. La Belle Zoraide, was meant to marry M’sieur Ambroise but happen to fall in love with a slave to which she conceived a child with. La Belle’s mistress tells her that her baby died but the reader knows that it is in fact alive and  was sent away to a plantation. This creates dramatic irony and adds to the pain the reader feels for La Belle Zoraide’s loss.

1 Comment

  1. nayaabkhan99 says:

    I agree with Amira Hamilton’s examples of irony within Kate Chopin’s short stories. Another major example of irony is found in Kate Chopin’s The Lilies. The irony found in this story are the lilies. Mary Louise, the little girl, gives Mr. Billy lilies from her mother’s garden in order to compensate for the destruction of Mr. Billy’s property and crops that had been caused by Mamouche. The type of lily that Mary Louise gave Mr. Billy was an Easter Lily which symbolizes purity, hope, innocence, and peace. This is ironic because the Easter Lilies had been growing on top of a buried baby. Something so beautiful had grown out of something that represented sorrow, death, and sadness.

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