021: Irony Anyone?
This week’s stories are all about IRONY!
I was famous at my school in NYC when, on 9/11, while we were standing on the southernmost tip of Manhattan, I “taught” irony to my students. We had evacuated and were in that brief moment between the airplane crashes and the towers’ collapse. I was standing on a park bench by Castle Clinton, whistling for more of our students to join me. As we stood around, trying to look calm, I had the kids look at the Statue of Liberty, then look at the terrorist attacks. Liberty. Terror.
The kids got it.
This week, however, we play with two fun short stories and a deeply satiric essay. The first is one you may or may not know, “The Lady or the Tiger,” written by Frank Stockton. He lived from 1834 to 1902. Here he is. Nice lookin’ fellah, eh?
The second story we’ll listen to today is one of my favorites. In fact, if you have kids who are in junior high or high school, have them listen to these stories a couple of times, then talk to them. They’ll never have a hard time with Irony again (which is good, because it’s the easiest way for them to mess up on those high-stakes tests!). The second is “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. Here’s Kate.
The last piece I’ve been forced to read myself as it was obvious to me that the Librivox reader kinda missed the point…or wasn’t able to communicate it clearly enough when reading it out loud. It’s Mark Twain’s “War Prayer” and it’s pretty brutal. However, it’s also timely and something important that we should probably all think about. Twain wrote this when he was unhappy with US actions in the Philippines. Whether you’re encouraged by our current overseas actions or not, it’s not bad to sit back and think about the point Twain brings up in his short essay/story/parable. He’s a master of satire, and like all satire, if taken at face value, he’ll simply look like a monster and that will be the end of it.
Either way, I hope you enjoy this, our first day of short stories.
Today, “The Lady or the Tiger” was read by Alice (that’s all she wrote, folks!), and “The Story of an Hour” and “War Prayer” was read by Yours Truly. As always, the theme music was “Chasing Hiro” by Joshua Christian, podsafe music from Garageband.com.
Book talk starts right away. Listen to 21 audio.