A Mystery of Heroism: Situational Irony

Situational irony is a literary term used in a wide range of novels and stories. Situational irony is a discrepancy between what is expected to happen and what would be appropriate to happen. Situational irony is found in many works of literature. In one work of literature, “A Mystery of Heroism” by Stephen Crane, situational irony is shown many times. Many of these situations are confusing, harsh, and of course, ironic. The first example of situational Irony I saw was that these soldiers were concerned ore so about water than what they were fighting for.

Private Collins and his company were not concerned about dying so much as to get one drink of water. This also makes the reader question If the company wants to even be fighting at all. Why should a person spare their life If the fight Isn’t worth the thought? Stephen Crane suggests this Idea to the reader. The second example was that Private Collins, while ruling his life to get the drink of water, sees a dying man on his way back to his company. The dying man asks for a drink, and Collins refuses.

As he walks a bit, Collins returns to give the man a final drink. This is an example of situational irony because Collins is risking his life to give a dying man a drink, when Collins could be shot and end up just like the man he his helping. He is also wasting water on someone who will not need it. The third example of situational irony is that once Collins returns to his company, the lieutenants snatch the water from him and start to drink. The two lieutenants fool round, one knocking the others arm playfully.

Then suddenly the bucket of water is knocked out of the lieutenants hands and spilled to the ground. This is situational irony because Collins risked his life for nothing. He also did not get to drink the water he so desperately wanted. Situational irony occurs in “A Mystery of Heroism” many a time. It gives a humorous feel to very serious events. Stephen Crane used the literary term to his advantage, keeping the reader in much suspense and the thought of “what just happened? “.