LESSON ONE: Irony in Poetry and Prose (fiction and non-fiction texts)
Using a graphic organizer, students investigate irony in fiction and nonfiction texts (a poem, a newspaper column,
and a short story).
R2B Analyze and evaluate author‟s use of figurative language (emphasize irony), imagery and sound devices in
poetry and prose
R3B Analyze and evaluate author‟s use of figurative language (emphasize irony), imagery and sound devices in
Instruct students to retain copies of literature stimulus pieces for use in subsequent lessons. Strategy
; Sources of Literature
o Overhead and transparencies
; Handouts provided
o “One Perfect Rose” by Dorothy Parker. http://www.plagiarist.com/poetry/1950/ (Overhead)
o “The Nose Knows” by Dave Barry (Student copies)
o “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (Student copies)
o Winning the Lottery T-Chart example (Overhead)
o Fishbone Graphic Organizer (Student copies)
o Possible answers for Fishbone Graphic Organizers “The Nose Knows” by Dave Barry and “The Story of an
Hour” by Kate Chopin
o Irony in “Story of an Hour” for formative assessment
o Formative assessment Scoring Guide for “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
; Words to know
o graphic organizer
Students identify irony and analyze its contribution to the text. Students complete the handout Irony in “The Story
of an Hour” by Kate Chopin handout. Scoring guide provided.
1. Using the Think-Pair-Share strategy, focus on the concept of irony. First, students make individual lists of
events that would change their lives (examples: winning something big like the lottery; death of a loved
one). Next, students pair up to share their life-changing events lists with each other. Display the example
Winning the Lottery T-Chart handout. Then, each pair chooses one of the events, creates a T-Chart, and
labels their own charts to show an expected reaction and an unexpected reaction to events. When finished
with the T-charts, students share their answers with the class.
Think-Pair-Share is a simple cooperative learning activity. Students think about and respond to a Strategy
question, then pair up and discuss their answers. Each partner has a predetermined amount of time
for sharing (i.e., one minute). The pair then shares their answers with the whole class or another
A resource with many cooperative learning activities is Cooperative learning resources for Idea
teachers, by S. Kagan, San Clemente, CA: Resources for Teachers, Inc. (1994).
2. Discuss irony. There are three types of irony. Verbal irony uses words to suggest opposite meanings;
saying one thing but meaning another. In dramatic irony, the reader is aware of something that a character
in a piece of literature does not know. In situational irony, the outcome of a situation is very different from
what is expected.
Think about stories you have read or movies you have seen. Can you give an example of Questions
dramatic irony? for
What purpose does irony serve in literature? Students
Can you give an example of verbal irony?
Think back to your life-changing event T-chart. What made your unexpected reaction an
example of irony?
3. Display the Dorothy Parker poem, “One Perfect Rose.” After reading the poem, use the “Most Important Word” strategy.
Most Important Word—After reading the poem, student selects the most important word that Strategy
comes to mind when reflecting about the poem. Students share their words and explain why
they were chosen. The teacher lists the words on the board or overhead. Others comment and
share their words and reasons, providing a meaningful discussion about the message of the
poem. (Beers, 2000)
4. Discuss the irony in the poem.
What were your first impressions as you began reading the poem? Questions
How did this contrast with your impression as you finished the poem? for
What is the poet‟s attitude toward the rose in the first two stanzas? Students
What is her attitude toward the rose in the last stanza?
What kind of irony does this represent?
Explain the irony.
What effect does the irony have on the mood and tone of the poem?
What effect does the irony have on the poet‟s purpose for the poem?
If you were the poet, what would you use instead of a limousine to contrast with the rose?
Two resources with many pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading strategies are Reading Idea
strategies handbook for high school: A guide to teaching reading in the literature classroom by
Kylene Beers, Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston (2000); and Teaching reading in the ndcontent areas: If not me, then who? Teacher’s Manual 2 Edition by R. Billmeyer & M.L.
Barton, Aurora, CO: McREL (1998)
5. Students read “The Nose Knows” by Dave Barry. Use the Most Important Word Strategy.
6. Demonstrate how to complete the fishbone graphic organizer to analyze the irony in the selection. Discuss
the graphic organizer results. Discuss Possible Answers for Fishbone Graphic Organizer, “The Nose
Knows,” by Dave Barry handout.
The „bones‟ on the top part of the fishbone graphic organizer are for examples of irony. The Strategy
corresponding bones below each explain how the irony contributes to the tone, mood, author‟s
purpose, characterization, or theme of the story. The large box on the right is for the overall
effect of the selection. Begin with the overall effect to guide the choice of irony examples
What is an example of irony in the Dave Barry column? Questions
What kind of irony does this represent? for
How does this contribute to the intent of the column? Students
What is the overall effect of the irony in the column?
Suggest another ironic example you would include in this piece?
Compare Barry‟s irony to Dorothy Parker‟s irony. Which piece is better? Why?
7. Students read “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin.
8. Working in pairs and using a blank fishbone graphic organizer, students analyze irony in the selection. Lead
a discussion of the graphic organizer results. See possible answers for fishbone graphic organizer, “The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin handout.
What were your first thoughts as you began reading the story? Questions
What is the overall effect of the irony in the story? for
Give an example of irony in the story. Students
Tell how irony contributes to the story.
What kind of irony does this represent?
Would this story be believable in today‟s society?
How does this compare with the use of irony in the Dave Barry column?