The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 Irony

Grandma Sands

Influenced by his parents' descriptions of how strict she is, Kenny anticipates that Grandma Sands will look like an evil troll. Ironically, though, she is a small, fragile old lady with a kind face and a lot of love in her heart, though she can be strict and no-nonsense at times. Kenny's expectations of Grandma Sands were very different from who she really turned out to be.

The Red, White, and Blue Dresses

While at the scene of the church bombing, Kenny sees a little girl in a red dress next to a little girl in a blue dress, and thinks that if Joey were there in her white dress, the girls would form the colors of the American flag. This observation is sad and ironic in this particular situation, since the current policy of segregation in the United States has resulted in a horrendous act of terror.

The Whirlpool

The whirlpool event in this story is an example of dramatic irony, which occurs when readers know something that the characters do not know. In this case, readers are aware that what Mr. Robert really warned against was a whirlpool, not a "Wool Pooh." Kenny, however, does not know what a whirlpool is, so he has no idea of the danger he faces when he gets into the water. Readers know that something bad will happen as soon as Kenny decides to go to Collier's Landing, but Kenny himself has no idea. In yet another irony that involves differing perspectives, Kenny fears for his life at Collier's Landing, while readers of the novel know that Kenny will live to tell the tale.