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Irony Lesson Plan

 

I.  Students should have been previously assigned to read "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe.

 

II.  Begin class with a five-minute video of a reenactment of the story.

    a. Reinforces the students' understanding of the story.

    b. Even if students did not read the story as assigned, they will still be able to participate in and benefit

        from the lesson.

 

III. Introduce the concept of irony.

    a. Verbal irony

        i. Occurs when a person says the opposite of what he or she really means, one kind is sarcasm.

        ii. Examples include "yeah, right," meaning no, or "beautiful weather we're having," on a rainy day.

    b. Situational irony

        i. Occurs when the outcome of a particular situation is the opposite of what is expected.

        ii. Example from George Carlin: A diabetic on his way to the store to buy insulin gets hit by a truck

            delivering insulin to that store.

        iii. Common non-examples found in sports announcers: "The irony of it is that he missed that shot even

            though he is injured."

    c. Dramatic irony

        i. Occurs when the reader or viewer of a story knows something the characters do not.

        ii. Example: old horror movies where the woman is going into the basement when the viewer knows there is

            a monster down there.

 

IV. Relate irony to "The Cask of Amontillado."

    a. Ask students to find ten examples of irony in the story in a class discussion.  There are many more than

        ten. 

    b. Be sure to find examples of each kind of irony.

 

V. Relate irony to real-world examples.

    a. Play the song "Isn't it Ironic?" by Alanis Morissette.

    b. Pass out the lyrics to the song and ask students to identify whether each situation described in the song is

        or is not ironic, and explain why.

    c. There are only two examples of irony in the song, one of which is the fact that a song about irony does not,

        in fact, contain many examples of irony.

 

VI. Follow-up activity: Offer extra-credit points for students who bring to class examples or non-examples of   

        irony they find in the media so that students will continue to think about the concept and also learn to

        critically analyze all types of media.

 

VII. Irony in pictures:

    a. An escalator leading to a fitness center.

 

    b. A wrecked car belonging to an "easy" driving school.

 

    c. Dramatic irony: we know that the IRS is not a subscription and will not leave Snoopy alone, but he does    

        not.