Diadechko A. The Role of Irony and Background Knowledge in Context Decoding of the Essay “Excavating Rachel’s Room” by R .J. Waller
The article deals with the phenomenon of irony, so typical for modern literary pieces and interpersonal communication in general. It is focused on the tools used for constructing, realizing, and decoding of irony in modern American non-fiction prose, namely in the essay, written by Robert James Waller. Extra-linguistic nature of irony and its contextual predetermination are stated. Two types of irony are distinguished: situational and associative. Associative irony which deals with mega-contexts is specified. Its context decoding with reference to basic categories and principles of contextual semantics, coherence, cohesion, retrospection, intertextuality among them, is practiced and described. Its multi-levelled complicated structure is outlined and detailed through a logical, stylistic, and component analysis of the text, and detection of implicitly presented meanings and senses. Typical examples of contextual decoding of irony are also given. The cases of using repetition, citation, and parody are exemplified.
The role of background knowledge in reconstructing true senses initially meant by the author of the essay is investigated. Particular specific and additional information needed by non-native readers to understand the intentions, considerations, and emotions of R.J.Waller, and to decode ironical senses built by him, is defined and supplemented. Temporal features of background knowledge are noted.