Irony in Tobias Wolff's "Hunter's in the Snow" and Diane Munro's "How I Met My Husband"

1719 words 7 pages
Irony in Tobias Wolff’s “Hunters in the Snow” and Alice Munro’s “How I Met My Husband”

Irony expresses and often underlines the contrast between two opposite concepts creating an indirect, more sophisticated method of communication. Irony is as efficient in a literary work, as the reader can perceive it. Therefore, often times the reader must carefully analyze the material, reading it repeatedly if necessary, in order to fully understand the author’s message and intent. Tobias Wolff and Alice Munro employ irony in their short stories in attempt to surprise the readers, giving them an opportunity for discovery. In Wolff’s “Hunters in the Snow”, irony acts as a tragicomedy agent, but its role is mainly to reveal the true nature of
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Tub accepts Frank’s apparent sensibility towards him instantly, without questioning his integrity and without realizing that he is most likely to become the next Kenny. In the beginning of the story Kenny puts Tub's life in danger by driving fast, halfway on the curb towards Tub. So one could say Kenny was playing with Tub's life. He then laughs uncontrollably at Tub “slapping his knees and drumming his feet on the floorboards” (86). And somehow this turns back against him, when he is the one shot by Tub later on in the story. When they stop to rest by the creek Kenny actually talks about choosing to be burned on the stake if “you ask me how I want to die today” (88), referring to the unpleasant cold weather they were having. This is yet another proof of Kenny's ignorance towards the importance of life, and death for that matter. He is also presented as the best hunter in the group: “this will be the first season since I was fifteen I haven’t got my deer” (90), so it is ironic that Kenny is the one that probably dies at the end, but somehow it is expected. He seems like a strong character in the beginning, by driving the truck, getting permission to hunt from the owner of the land and he is assigned to kill the dog. Yet, ironically, he becomes the weakest character in the story at the end. Alice Munro's "How I Met My Husband"