Thursday, December 2, 2010

"The Drunkard" by Frank O'Connor

6. What is the principal irony in this story?

While this story was filled with humor and irony, I would have to say that the principal irony would be the fact that the little boy became drunk rather than his alcoholic father. One of the most humorous parts of the story occurred when Larry's father was walking him home and he was drunkenly yelling at old women, saying "Go away, ye bloody bitches!" He also snapped at his father asking him "Ah, Jasus... Why the hell can't you leave me alone?" (page 350). I found this part of the story comical because it was almost as if he was trying to act like an adult. Elevating the level of irony further was Larry's mother's reaction to his drunken state. Rather than getting mad at her son for drinking alcohol, she praised him instead, calling him his father's "guardian angel". This is highly ironic because the way he "saved" his father from drinking was by getting drunk himself. His mother, not realizing his mistake, thought that he did this on purpose and accoladed his wit.

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