Mark Twain Writing Styles in The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

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Verbal Irony

Commonly and simply referred to as "irony," verbal or rhetorical irony hinges on discrepancies between reality and the words a writer or speaker uses to represent reality. A fictional character may or may not be aware of the contradictions, but the meaning of the text often depends on the reader recognizing them. According to the Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, "Irony is commonly employed as a 'wink' that the listener or reader is expected to notice so that he or she may be 'in on the secret."' If such effects are consistent throughout the text, ironic tone characterizes the narrator or speaker's voice. Satire frequently uses irony, which produces, but is not limited to, comic effect.

In "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg," the exaggerated descriptions of the town as "most honest," "upright," and "unsmirched" identify the ironic tone of the narrator's voice, especially as...

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This section contains 1,026 words
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Short Stories for Students
The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.