An Event in a Story That's Exactly the Reverse of What Was Expected is an Irony

July 16, 2023
David Sunnyside

A story's plot is made up of a series of events that happen in a particular order. These incidents progressively move the protagonist closer to, or farther away from, his Goal. They lead up to the Climax, which is the major, most significant event of the story. And it is at this point that the protagonist either succeeds or fails in achieving his Goal.

An event in a story that's exactly the reverse of what was expected is an example of irony. Merriam-Webster defines it as "a situation in which the result is the exact opposite of what one expects." It's ironic when mousy outcast Jane is voted prom queen at the same time that her archrival Becky wears the same dress to the same event, but it's not ironic when Luke and his uncle purchase R2-D2 and C3-PO from Jawa traders on Tattooine, unaware of their rebel origins.

But to really grasp the meaning of an event in a story, it's best to examine it from a different angle. A story is made up of micro- and macro-sequences, and it's important to understand what role an individual event plays in the overall narrative. Whether it's an inciting incident, key event or climax, each event is an important part of the story and contributes to its dramatic function. The following article discusses these three types of events and how they play a role in the progression of a narrative from start to finish.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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