Irony (n): the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
This is a blanket definition of irony when in fact; there are many different forms of irony. Too many people use irony as a catchall term to refer to anything out of the ordinary, amusing, or dramatic. The ignorance stops here. By understanding the various forms it comes in, you will (hopefully) use irony correctly.
If one of your friends or classmates comes to you and says, “I wish my professor would call on me more, I love the feeling of absolute terror you get when everyone in the class is staring at you.” Unless they’re some kind of masochist, they obviously don’t enjoy being spontaneously called on and suffering the scrutiny of their classmates. This is known as verbal irony though it is usually referred to as sarcasm.
The most common irony is situational irony, which refers the actions of someone based on an expectation that lead directly to the outcome they wish to avoid. For example, in the movie Shrek, it was expected that “love’s true form” for Fiona would be human when in reality it was an ogre because Shrek loved her ogre form.
In the works of drama or fiction, dramatic irony is when the reader or audience is let in on a fact that is unknown to most of the characters. The most famous example is in Romeo & Juliet when the audience knows that Juliet has taken a potion to merely appear dead, while Romeo only sees her dead body and proceeds to kill himself.
Cosmic irony would only be used for dramatic effect in real life, but it basically blames the gods or fate for having a hand in our struggles. For a fictional example, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort’s motivation throughout all the books is to kill Harry and in the end, that’s what destroys him.
The juxtaposition between a historical event and what has happened since to contradict it is historical irony. Leading up to its departure in 1912, the Titanic was declared unsinkable – and then it sunk on its maiden voyage.
Based on the Socratic teaching method, Socratic irony is feigning ignorance in order to get a certain reaction or answer out of someone. So when your professor asks you to read the material and then you come in the next day and they say “I don’t know the answer” as they sit back and ask you question after question and you end up teaching yourself – you’ve just become the victim of Socratic irony.
Contrary to popular belief, people are actually reading more now than they ever have before. However, we’re not all cracking open Charles Dickens or Emily Bronte. The majority of information we absorb is through reading in the media. Even social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr require us to read, albeit in a very different way. Our reading comprehension is not actually suffering as it has been strained of late. With too much stimuli bombarding us at every moment, our attention spans have become shorter and shorter, limiting our ability to comprehend and absorb what we read. We need to reconsider our relationship with reading and what it means to us.
Nowadays, we are more interested on having an opinion on a topic rather than thoughtfully and critically thinking about it before commenting. While a lot of us gravitate towards sources that validate our own opinions, we should be seeking out opposing voices. This will slow down one’s reading consumption and help create a more well-rounded reading base. If reading, in whatever form that comes to you, causes you anxiety and you feel like it’s more of a chore that you have to keep up with, then you need to reevaluate how and what you read. To learn more about boosting your reading comprehension and being a smarter, more conscientious reader, check out Lifehacker’s article.
With the ever-growing world of eBooks, the lifespan of printed books are dwindling. As a frequent bookstore visitor, I loathe the day printed books die out. I think it’s still a long time coming, but it stills gives me panic attacks whenever I think about it. (And then I proceed to run to the nearest Barnes & Noble and breathe in the soothing smell of freshly printed books – seriously, that needs to be a body spray or something.) But in the meantime, we need to focus on the benefits of physical books versus the cheap imitations of the real book-reading experience. Nothing beats the feel of quickly fanning the pages of a new book or hearing the spine crinkle when you open it or perusing the aisles of an entire building dedicated to only books. And then there’s the satisfying feeling you get when you close a book after you’re finished reading. EBooks just don’t quite live up to the experience that is reading a physical book. Read the complete list of reasons at Thought Catalog.
As a writer, your job seems to be simple: write stuff and people read it. But it’s the constant, daily struggle that’s difficult – figuring out the sweet spot between writing what you want to write and writing what actually sells. Sometimes, those are the same thing, other times, not so much. A lot of times, it depends on the market that year: what genres and topics are popular right now and what people are talking about. But most importantly, you need to know what you want out of writing. If you’re in it for the money, then all the power to you, the answers are on the bestseller list. If you’re writing because you love the craft but you also want to be able to eat, then either make a compromise or try to find the happy medium. More than likely, there will be a group of readers out there that will want to read your writing. The catch is do you care about how big that group is or is the fact that they exist at all enough for you? Check out what novelist Chuck Wendig says about this on his blog, Terribleminds.
All you need to do is serve the pudding before sprouts, remember that similar birds fly conjointly, and try not to be afraid of nizzards and glikkers. Yes, yes, Dr. Seuss tends not to make sense at times, but he always reveals the moral of the story at the end though. He knew how to captivate even the most unruly of audiences – his writing had the power to make kids sit down and listen. The most important lesson to learn from Dr. Seuss is to first give the readers what they really want before you unload all the detailed important stuff. You need to paint the picture before you try to haggle the price. Lure people in with verbs and active language, then slowly work in the point of your content. This is what Copyblogger tries to drive home: If you can create like Dr. Seuss, you can make it like Dr. Seuss. Okay, I really just wanted to make something rhyme… how about this:
He rhymes, he writes, he sets kids right; you read, you need, click here with speed.
If you’re a fan of all things writing, then Fourth Genre’s new podcast series “Off the Page” is for you. Each episode highlights a different author published in Fourth Genre, discussing their work and covering various issues in the realm of nonfiction as well as their writing process, the editing process, and, of course, what animal they would most like to be.
So far, “Off the Page” focuses on authors the Fourth Genre editorial staff met at the annual Associated Writers and Writing Program conference when they traveled to Boston earlier this year. In the first episode, Eric Walters talks with Daisy Hernandez, the author of “Before Love, Memory” which received a Notable Mention in Best American Essays 2013. In the second episode, Brenda Miller is interviewed about her various published pieces, especially the most recent of her Fourth Genre pieces, “How to Get Ready for Bed”. With only two episodes so far, catching up is simple! Don’t miss any more episodes; check out “Off the Page” here.
As the literary world moves closer and closer to a wholly digital reading experience, new reading devices seem to crop up every day. As delightful and convenient as ebooks can be, it’s frustrating when you can’t find the right format for a book that you want to read. Bookbub can help with that. By signing up with your email, you can receive daily offers on free or discounted ebooks. The website supports numerous digital platforms including, but not limited to: Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Google Play Books. They provide links to download the book of your choice for your preferred ereader. Learn more about Bookbub at Lifehacker. Happy Reading!
A big vocabulary is like a full toolbox; you might not need every tool for every job, but every tool has a time and place. The way we pick up new vocabulary is a fascinating and complicated field, but measuring our vocabulary can be equally complicated. Researchers trying to learn more about this field have created testyourvocab.com. The test has you go through and choose the words you can define and then estimates your vocabulary at the end. A typical score for a native English speaker is between 20,000-35,000 words. Keep in mind, there is most probably a sample bias at work here, since the people most likely to test their vocabulary are the same people who would value a large one. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting experiment. You might be surprised by how much you know.