Examine the use of irony in The Floating Opera giving suitable examples from the novel.

The new ironic mode of the experimental novel, like the theater of the absurd, blurs the generic divisions of comedy and tragedy. True comedy and its delightfulness and tragedy with its moral affirmation are not simply possible in a world that is perceived as an absurdity. The implications of comedy are horrifyingly tragic and that of tragedy, pathetically or grotesequely comic. The absence of order and rationality in the world is simultaneously comic and tragic and the experimental novelists, like the European absurdists, look up for humour in the very inversions of what is considered real, beautiful and delightful.

The ironic fictional mode that the novelists use could only heighten the comic and tragic inversions. Black comedy or humour owes its origin to the European surrealists of the 1920s who attempted to break the traditional modes of perception by removing the traditional connotations and meanings of words and objects in order to enable them to reflect the unconscious strivings and the dream processes. The American experimental novelists do not go that far but use the concept of black humour or comedy as a part of their critical or creative ironic mode to illustrate the absurdities of American mass society.

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