Assignment 1.2: Analyzing an ironic text

Purpose of the assignment

You will practice analyzing and assessing the appeal side and the self-expression side of an ironic communication message.

Subject matter

  • Section 1.2
  • Section 1.3
  • Section 4.4.5


One of the means senders can use to persuade their audience is irony: an often deliberately exaggerated message that is hidden behind the literal message. The sender assumes that the readers or listeners will be aware of this, and that the irony will not only make them smile but will also make the real, underlying message more convincing. In a text entitled Baby User Manual: 2017 Edition, written by Elizabeth Zephyrine McDonough and published on March 19, 2017 on the site of The New Yorker, the irony is well established throughout the text.

Answer the following questions (in short).

  • What sender goals do you think the writer tries to achieve with this brochure?
  • By what means does the writer try to reach these goals?
  • What receiver goals do you assume most readers will try to achieve?
  • How do these reader goals relate to the sender goals?
  • What do you think is the underlying appeal side of this text?
  • What is the self-expression side of this brochure?
  • What image does this text create of the writer?
  • What is your final assessment of this text, especially as far as the irony is concerned?

The text

You will find the text here: