Young Writers Society

Home » Forums » Resources » Ask an Expert

Some Literary Techniques

Post a reply
User avatar
710 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 7160
Reviews: 710
Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:13 am
BigBadBear says...



In my AP Literature class, we have been discussing the differences between paradox, oxymoron and irony. It's been the subject of the lesson for the past two days, and I'm still having difficulty recognizing which is which and stating which characteristics of each literary technique differ from the others.

Can anyone please help me understand these?

-Jared
Just write -- the rest of life will follow.

Would love help on this.




User avatar
159 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 7146
Reviews: 159
Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:45 am
MeanMrMustard says...



Paradox - States/statements/etc in alignment that contradict each other.

Oxymoron - A statement that basically contradicts itself; a microcosm of paradox.

Irony - Depends on context; irony can easily be understand in dramatic irony, but irony on its own will depend on the situation. Tackle the first two, then look at irony through dramatic irony and go from there.

Let me know if you have questions.




User avatar
710 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 7160
Reviews: 710
Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:47 pm
BigBadBear says...



Thanks, but could you also give me examples of each?

-Jared
Just write -- the rest of life will follow.

Would love help on this.




User avatar
159 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 7146
Reviews: 159
Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:37 pm
MeanMrMustard says...



Sure, let's use this Wiki page for reference on paradoxes.

For a quick visual example, here's this.

A famous example of the liar's paradox.

The key with paradox is like I said for irony: find context and examples to really grasp the concept. Are all horses the same color? No, but to say so is a paradox when it is an assertion of fact. That's the impetus and damning pitch here; paradox isn't hyperbole though you can't see it as that, which is fine. To make something a paradox it has to simply be seen as being...serious!


Now, thankfully Oxymoron is delightfully easy to show.

I am a theist atheist.

Here are others.

The key with oxymoron is to never ever, ever get complicated unless you're writing. Even then, it's better to be simple.


And Irony...

Here's a socio-cultural example. Irony spans drama, comedy, tragic, etc...but it still has to make sense in cultural perspective. Take the Wiki article only for what you want.

Irony is literally contradiction of statement or presumed assumptions, known or not.

Again, ask me any questions if you need to, these concepts are built into culture and while they are meant to be...intuitive, they are known for being cumbersome.







cron