Isn't it Ironic?
July 19, 2013 8:14 AM Subscribe
Looking for a short story, in which an elevator figured prominently, used to demonstrate literary irony in a gifted-talented/advanced placement middle school class.
posted by crush-onastick to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For reference: I attended four different schools in four different parts of the U.S. between 6th and 10th grades in the early 1980s. I was enrolled in G/T, AP, or the local equivalent of "working above grade level classes or schools in all of them. In one of them, we read short stories designed to illustrate specific literary devices.
I am trying to recall the one used to illustrate irony. It had something to do with an elevator, a power failure, and death. It would be an older American short story (say, mid-40s to mid-60s) and it was an elevator in a private residence. I think it had something to do with a house being closed for the season and probably familial tensions. Certainly someone in it is unlikeable. It was not long, if I'm remembering correctly--the sort of story that if you held the book flat in a copier, you'd fit the whole thing on 4-5 pages.
I've thumbed through lots of short story anthologies over the years looking for it, and I've never seen it, so I'm not sure it's a particularly revered story or even if the author is still well-known and read. I don't know if the story was typically taught in U.S. middle school literature classes or if it was a quirk of the programming at the school I attended.
I know there are similar motifs in good movies (Elevator to the Gallows) and bad ones (Kitten with a Whip), but I am reasonably certain that I'm not conflating the trope with my memories of this class. I could be wrong.
It's a long shot, but maybe one of you knows it?