Lesson 14: Manners (Again)

Writing Exercise

Often the reader of a story knows more about the characters’ situation than the characters do. That gap is known as dramatic irony.

In Romeo and Juliet, we know that Juliet is asleep, not dead, but Romeo thinks she’s dead (and acts accordingly). From where we sit, we can see he’s making a big mistake. That’s dramatic irony. Sometimes dramatic irony is used for comic effect. We smile knowingly at a character’s harmless misunderstanding.

Your assignment this week is to achieve dramatic irony by rewriting a scene from To Kill a Mockingbird. Pick a minor character from a scene and retell the scene through that person’s eyes. That character will know less about what’s “really” going on than the reader will, for the simple reason that the reader has read To Kill a Mockingbird, and the character hasn’t.

So, I could imagine rewriting the syrup scene from the Cunningham boy’s perspective. What does he think about Scout going to eat her lunch in the kitchen? Or maybe that first day of school from the peppermint-drop schoolteacher’s perspective. Or Bob Ewell’s testimony from Bob Ewell’s perspective.