Role of Irony in "This Boy's Life"

701 Words3 Pages
Param Patel Mrs. Karen Vann Period C6-7 IB SL English Role of irony in This Boy’s Life: Journal #4 Irony, by definition, is the expression marked by a deliberate contrast between the apparent and intended meaning. It’s the difference between what is expected and what actually occurs. In This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff, irony is a defining element that pinpoints key details throughout the entire memoir. Tobias believes that “the real family we set out to imitate does not exist in nature” (Wolff 112) because Tobias feels that you cannot imitate the family you want to be, nor is there such a thing as a perfect family in the first place. His contrast and deviation from the standards that society believes in shows Toby’s complexity in character. Irony is crucial, conveying a negative tone about Toby’s religious beliefs, attitude, character, and the characters around him. It is ironic that Toby uses Sister James’s sins during his own confession, showing that he does not take his religion seriously. Primarily, irony develops a negative tone towards Toby’s religious beliefs and attitude. This tone becomes visible through the confession with the priest and Sister James. It’s ironic because Sister James tells Toby her sins and when he goes back to confess again, he tells the priest her sins instead of his own. The negative tone towards Toby’s Catholic faith becomes apparent due to his untruthfulness and lack of concern during confession. Father Karl even goes onto state that “he believes in the world,” (249) and desires materialistic possessions including “the world’s esteem.” (249) It is ironic because Father Karl attempts to guilt Toby into repentance, however Toby knows that Father Karl understands that he has not reached him because “Toby is in hiding.” (250) Irony develops round characters such as Dwight and Toby. It portrays Dwight as an antagonistic
Open Document