In Proceedings By Daria

Irony and its absence in the song Alanis Morissette «Ironic»

Being a fan of Alanis Morissette want a lawyer to act as a singer, and linguistics, thereby reconciling the creative person, the science and critics.


In 1995, the famous Canadian-American singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette has released one of the best-selling album Jagged Little Pill, the third single which has become familiar to many song «Ironic». In 1997, the song was nominated for a «Grammy» in the category of «Record of the Year.»

Ironic Absurd
(a translation of the name, see below)
An old man turned ninety-eight The old man turned 98 years
He won the lottery and died the next day He won the lottery and died the next day
It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay It’s like a black fly in your Chardonnay
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late It’s like a pardon those sentenced to death, with a delay of two minutes
And is not it ironic … do not you think And is not this ridiculous … What do you think?
It’s like rain on your wedding day It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid It’s like a free trip for which you have already paid
It’s the good advice that you just did not take This is good advice that you just did not listen
Who would’ve thought … it figures Who would have thought … But it is logical
Mr. Play-It-Safe was afraid to fly Mr. «Vedi Self-Warning» was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye He picked up his suitcase and kissed his children goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight He’d spent his life waiting for this goddamn flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought And when the plane began to fall, he thought,
«Well is not this nice …» «Well, is not this nice …»
And is not it ironic … do not you think And is not this ridiculous … What do you think?
It’s like rain on your wedding day It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid It’s like a free trip for which you have already paid
It’s the good advice that you just did not take This is good advice that you just did not listen
Who would’ve thought … it figures Who would have thought … But it is logical
Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you Well, life can be a strange way to sneak up on you
When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right When you think that everything is fine and everything is going as it should
And life has a funny way of helping you out And life can be a strange way to rescue you
When you think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up When you think that all is not all wrong
In your face For whatever you took
A traffic jam when you’re already late The resulting «plug» when you’re already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break The inscription «No smoking» on the wall during your smoke break
It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife It’s like ten thousand spoons when you need a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams It’s like a meeting with the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife And then, with his wonderful wife
And is not it ironic … do not you think And is not this ridiculous … What do you think?
A little too ironic … and, yeah, I really do think … Too ridiculous … Oh, yes, I really think so …
It’s like rain on your wedding day It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid It’s like a free trip for which you have already paid
It’s the good advice that you just did not take This is good advice that you just did not listen
Who would’ve thought … it figures Who would have thought … But it is logical
Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you Life may be a strange way to sneak up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out Life may be a strange way to rescue you
Helping you out Rescued you …

What is sunk into the soul of listeners this track? Perhaps a combination of pop music from alternative rock, and maybe inspiring and profound text, which gives music lovers the so-called food for thought (thought-provoking). Despite the fact that the song for a long time kept in the top 10 foreign and Russian radio stations, critics to the nines smashed linguistic competence Alanis, claiming that she did not understand the term «irony», and also infects his ignorance of the mass of listeners. Here I will speak on the side of Alanis.

Let’s start with the name Ironic. What is irony? According to the science of linguistics, the irony — a stylistic device, consisting in the fact that the true meaning is veiled literal, or contrary to it, based on the contrast. Examples:

She turned with the sweet smile of an alligator. (J.Steinbeck) — She turned to me, with a sweet smile on the face of a crocodile.

It must be delightful to find oneself in a foreign country without a penny in one’s pocket. — It must have been just lovely to be in a foreign country without a penny in his pocket.

In the first example we can see the contrast in the words sweet smile and alligator, in the second case, everyone knows that being without a penny does not assume anything is delightful.

Often, for stylistic irony requires a broad context and in writing a detailed description of results in a paragraph or even chapter (which the song is almost impossible to do). But brilliant Alanis Morissette has managed yet to invest in one verse of the song and show us two examples of genuine (real, genuine) stylistic irony:

«Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought, Well, is not this nice? »

  1. Truly ironic that someone who is afraid to fly, dies in a plane crash at the first flight; it’s a surprise ending of the usual course of events.
  2. The very phrase «Well, is not this nice?» — Sarcastic, contrary to its literal meaning, therefore, is irony.

«Here on this and end examples of irony in the song Alanis» — tell me stylists, and will be in its own right. I still think that Alanis did not apply for a doctorate in philology, but simply wanted to show life in its common described using words and music enveloped situations.

Title song «Ironic» again does not claim a stylistic device, and is used in the sense of «irony», «absurd.» I believe that the need to translate the name of the song is the word «ridiculous» because the cases described in the verse and chorus, and so it is.

Let us detail on language in the song:

  • To turn + number — to become (of any age).
  • A death row — death row.
  • A pardon — jur. pardon; amnesty.
  • It figures — this is logical, natural.
  • Mr. Play-It-Safe — Mr. «Lead-yourself-care» or Mr. «reinsurer».

    NB! In terms of style — it is a very interesting technique called «antonomasia» (antonomasia [ˌantənəmeɪzɪə]) — the form of metonymy. Rather than put his own name descriptive expression.

    The Iron Lady — The Iron Lady.
    Casanova — Casanova.
    Mr. All-Know — Mr. omniscient.

  • To kiss somebody good-bye — kiss goodbye. Accordingly, you can kiss somebody good night / good morning etc.
  • To take flight — get on a plane, to carry out the flight (in the literal sense). It may also mean to escape, to run away. E. In this context can mean simply a desire to fly somewhere and the desire to leave his family and flee.
  • To have a + adj (adjective) + way — to do any way.

    Accordingly, to have a funny way — a strange way to do; to have a rude way of doing something — a rough way to do something; to have a diplomatic way of negotiating — diplomatically negotiate and so on. D.

  • To sneak up on somebody — to sneak unnoticed to anyone.
  • To help somebody out — to bail out anyone.
  • A break — break.

    Coffee break — Coffee break.
    Lunch break — lunch break.

Having dealt with the new words, I think you will agree that nothing difficult in the language is not: neither complicated or intricate turns of speech grammatical structures, but there is a kind of «complexity of being» painfully familiar to each of us. I think that Alanis Morissette is sought in order to make the listener feel that he is not one that irony may lie in wait around the corner, and absurd situations happen every day. So — she coped with the task, and inexperienced linguist listen to the song, reflect, probably not many examples of irony in the text, but on its meaning.

The very same Alanis says in an interview: «The most ironic thing about this song is that there’s actually nothing ironic in it» («The irony of this song is that there is no irony in it there»). Unscrew yet.

 

Proceedings

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