Flannery O'Connor: Isn't it Ironic? by Shmoop

Flannery O’Connor: Isn’t it Ironic? a la Shmoop

Many people are lacking a certain, critical nutrient.

No, it isn’t calcium. Okay, yeah… protein’s good, too.

But we’re actually referring to… a healthy sense of irony.

Let’s see you pick up a bottle of that stuff at your local GNC.

Some try to make up for it with snarkiness…

…but snarkiness is to irony what aspartame is to sugar.

Satisfying at first, but it leaves a bad aftertaste… and might cause medical issues.

What we really need is 100%, grade-A irony.

Flannery O’Connor’s stories are chock full of the stuff.

Irony is ingestible in a variety of different ways… don’t worry, none of them are used

as suppositories.

First, we have verbal irony, where words mean the opposite of what they say.

Like the phrase… a good man is hard to find.

What exactly is a good man, anyway? And what if the people saying it aren’t even good

themselves? Then there’s situational irony, when what

happens is the opposite of what we expect. Flannery O’Connor’s work is a great source

of dramatic irony, when the audience knows something the characters don’t.

In fact, in today’s sound bite age, sometimes it feels like we’ve forgotten what irony


We’re looking at you, Alanis.

Some people today say we’re in an age of new irony.

You might even call it the… Iron-y Age.

But Flannery O’Connor wouldn’t recognize this so-called irony as the real thing.

Although we’d love to hear what she’d have to say about Toddlers and Tiaras.

She’d probably say that we now live in an age of snark: snide remarks that are cutting

and malicious…

…but don’t dig in deep to the essential nature of the world, as irony does.

So what age do we live in?

An age of new irony?

An age of snark?

The age of Aquarius? Shmoop amongst yourselves.