Examples Of Irony In Catcher In The Rye

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Ironic Devices Irony is most commonly used in dialogue to express sarcasm and humor, and throughout the book, the irony becomes a prominent aspect of Holden’s personality. Salinger utilizes ironic devices to provide depth to Holden’s character and emphasize his own instability, as he constantly contradicts himself. Irony is used differently throughout the story, and most importantly, it conveys Holden’s shortcomings, making him more relatable and realistic. One of the most prominent forms of irony is dramatic irony. When Holden meets up with Sally, he admits, “I didn’t even like her much, and yet, all of a sudden I felt like I was in love with her and wanted to marry her” (Salinger 162). Throughout the story, Holden expresses his contempt for “phonies”, which are people who appear outwardly sincere, but in reality, are dishonest. He constantly labels the people he meets as phonies, but in truth, Holden is the true phony. He only pretends to like Sally, masking his inward distaste for her, thus making him similar to the same phonies he despises. The readers are aware of Holden’s hypocrisy, and Salinger uses dramatic irony frequently to remind readers of Holden’s…show more content…
For example, Holden decides to hire a prostitute and initially plans on losing his virginity to her. However, his innocence stops him, and instead, he asks her, “Don’t you feel like talking for a while?” (Salinger 124). The passage is ironic, because a prostitute’s job is to engage in sexual activity. Holden’s rejection and insistence that they simply talk is unreasonable to the readers, since it contradicts his original intentions, and as a result, readers are left confused. The night does not go the way Holden expected, and his contradictory actions emphasizes his own inner turmoil. The irony reveals how Holden is ultimately unsure of his own
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