Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh, the Irony

Alfred Hitchcock

This man was an iconic Ironic.
His movie Lamb to the Slaughter is a perfect example.

Mary Maloney had just finished ironing when her husband Patrick burst through the door. He headed directly for the whiskey bottle and then announced he was leaving her and their unborn baby for another woman.

Devastated and shocked, Mary slowly walked to the garage where she took a frozen leg of lamb out of the freezer, brought it into the kitchen and unwrapped it. Before Patrick could leave she sneaked up behind him, hit him with the frozen leg of lamb and killed him. Then she put it in the oven to cook, and called the police.

Mary said she'd been at the store when the murder occurred. The doctor told the detectives that Patrick had been hit with a heavy, blunt object that had fractured his skull so they looked for a baseball bat or a golf club but couldn't find anything.

After their search, Mary said she would have to throw the roast away if it wasn't eaten, and offered the detectives a lamb dinner. As they finished the leg of lamb one detective said that for all they knew the murder weapon could be right under their noses. If they didn't find it they'd never have a case. Mary let out a little chuckle.

Ironic wit makes even murder more palatable.

Irony is defined as "the opposite of what is expected, causing wry humor." An expression can be ironic, like "She gave a miserable smile," or "Her face flamed at his cold stare." It can be serious or funny. Mystery is a great place for irony, but so is a political speech or a fairy tale. It's like a pipe cleaner. Good authors twist it in practically anywhere and it adds an element of surprise.

I'm reading a book by Orson Scott Card called Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters and Viewpoint which has 182 pages. I wanted a quote for this post so I looked in the index. It said, Irony, p. 192. I searched for p. 192 for a few minutes before I caught on. Like Mary, I let out a little chuckle. I felt like he'd put in a little joke, just for me.

A witty use of irony keeps me from getting bored!

Now it's your turn:

Think of two ideas and
use one to play a joke on the other.
They don't have to be much—just a smile reinvests your reader.


The Grandmother Here said...

This is not irony. At least I don't think it is. It's just interesting to me.

What percent of pipe cleaners are actually used to clean pipes these days? Politically correct craft stores call them chenille stems.

Christie said...

That is a hilarious story about Orson Scott Card. So, so funny!

Misty said...

I know you were wondering, but this post makes me think of one of my favorite lines from Disney's Emporer's New Groove when Yzma says to Kronk "It's called a cruel irony...like my dependence on you."

By the way, I'm a huge Hitchcock fan.

That is all.

Sheri said...

I like your reference to Hitchcock. His movies and TV show always had irony. It's one reason I enjoyed them. I especially liked your reference to Lamb to the Slaughter. (I remember that episode.) While we were in Lower Slaughter, England, we stayed at the Lamb's Inn. If that isn't ironic enough, of course our last name is Slaughter so we were "taking the Slaughters to the Lamb." lol No one at the Inn caught the irony.

Anonymous said...

Hitchcock was the master of mystery, especially on TV. Never disappointed in his TV show or his movies. :)

Scrappy Grams said...

Hitchcock was the master of mystery, especially on TV. Never disappointed in his TV show or his movies. :)

Grammy T. said...

I love you blogs and your pictures are fabulous. The little girls going to church in your Mormon blog is wonderful. Where do you get them all?
Grammy T.

Raejean said...

Last year I had a little irony in my life as I received my training to be a trainer as I trained others to be trainers.

Larissa said...

Oooh - I love the pic of the granny surfing the ironing board! Ironing is my LEAST favourite chore, but it seems fitting to the topic of your post that this particular picture made me smile. Love your blog btw. :)