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Luck Of The Irony

In Children's Literacy, History, K-12 Education, Literary Device: Irony, Thats' Life on March 17, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Irony. It’s a fun literacy device. Irony is when there is a gap between what is said, seen or done and what, in fact, is true. The gap, however, has to be significant: it can’t merely be a factual error or even a lie. The irony depends on the audience’s or reader’s recognition of the gap. But did you know there are three types of irony?

And then there’s Cosmic or

Thanks Oatmeal.

Cosmic irony comes closest to the way most People use and understand irony, in that God or fate is manipulating events so as to inspire false hopes which are inevitably dashed.

Consider the phrase: The luck of the Irish. Today almost everyone you meet will tell you it means good luck. But does it? The phrase luck of the Irish is the most widely popular and familiar use of verbal or rhetorical irony. But that fact has been lost in today’s chronic misuse and understanding of the irony.

See, the Irish don’t necessarily consider themselves especially lucky and the historical record kinda sorta bears this assertion out. A certain wistfulness occurs when some People use the phrase ‘luck of the Irish.’ It could just as easily be said that the luck of the Irish alludes to bad fortune, hard times, and centuries of disease, misery and loss. A lot of Irish poetry and writing always focuses on tragedy. 

This experience with tragedy, suffering and loss have given rise to an acculturated propensity towards reliance on superstitions to help them make sense of a confusing and often disappointing world. One needs only to look at the behaviors of a lot of baseball players and the protracted good luck rituals they practice on the field.

It is widely known that there are many native superstitions in Ireland; things not totally eradicated from a past history that predates the advent of Catholicism. Some of the earlier Celtic traditions were absorbed into the Catholic traditions or were simply tolerated and  allowed to persist. Luck of the Irish then, may be a reference to many Irish beliefs concerning it, and have little to do with the vast sweep of a tragic Irish history.

So the luck of the Irish is ironic in that it has more to do with an attitude toward adversities  and overcoming or enduring them than it has to do, really, with actually having good luck or being lucky. It’s wistful coping with ill fortune. With a happy, hopeful, forward looking attitude.

Which begs the bigger question:  What is good luck anyway and do you really wanna have it?

That discussion in tomorrow’s  ThatOne | EBD. Until then…

Goodwill Energies I project
Upon each and every one of you
Each and every day!

“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”

That’s life today.

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