Literary Terms




The literary term ‘symbol’ refers to an inanimate object that isused to represent a different concept (DiYanni, 2008). On the otherhand, literary irony is classified as situational, tragic, ordramatic. Situational irony depicts an outcome that is entirelydifferent from what was expected. Tragic irony describes a situationwhere characters act contrary to their words. Dramatic irony applieswhen the audience is aware of developments to which the charactersare not privy (DiYanni, 2008).

In The Rocking Horse Winner, D. H. Lawrence uses the rockinghorse to depict situational irony between a mother and her son, Paul.Although the mother married for love, she developed an obsession formaterial things. She also lost the capacity to show love to herchildren. Consequently, Paul used the rocking horse as an instrumentto win money and hence satisfy his mother’s insatiable desire forwealth (Lawrence, 2016). Eventually, the mother was devastated to seeher dying son. Ironically, the resources she amassed could notalleviate her anguish. Furthermore, it is ironical that Paul obtainedso much money and yet lost his life.

In Hell-Heaven, Jhumpa Lahiri uses the symbols of food andclothing to foreshadow future events. Pranab Kaku had been drawn to astranger clothed in traditional Indian attire. Her cooking style alsoreminded him of his heritage. Nevertheless, he abandoned his cultureand married an American girl. Sadly, Pranab was unfaithful to hiswife after 23 years of marriage (Lahiri, 2004). In fact, he committedadultery with a married Indian woman. Therefore, the food andclothing at the beginning of the story were foregleams of his futureassociation with an Indian woman. At the conclusion of the story, itis ironical that an arranged marriage would develop into a lovingrelationship while Pranab’s union ended in divorce. Additionally,it is ironical that the narrator`s mother comforts Deborahnotwithstanding their initial animosity.


DiYanni, R. (2008). Literature: Approaches to fiction, poetry, anddrama (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Lahiri, J. (2004, Apr.). Hell-Heaven. The New Yorker.Retrieved from

Lawrence, D. H. (2016, Aug. 1). The Rocking-Horse Winner. ClassicShorts. Retrieved from