The author of the short story 'American History' is Judith Ortiz Cofer. She is a Puerto Rican native. This short story takes place in 1963, precisely on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This is one president that many people from many different walks of life could agree on as a good, fit president. The location of this story is in Paterson, New Jersey. The main character of this story is a 9th-grade girl, who is a native of Puerto Rico. Although she has been living in the United States for a while, she is still adjusting to her home. She really enjoys reading and literature.
One symbol in this story was the door to Eugene's house, which was painted green, which was described as the color of hope. This door stood between the main character and Eugene, and was the only thing keeping them from their study date. This is all that is on the her mind, even the president of the country has been shot and killed. However, the color of the door is ironic because she ends up being denied entry into the house.
This short story is a 'coming of age' story. At the beginning, the main character is only worried about getting to know Eugene. By the end of the story, the character's main focus is still Eugene, but realizes that she should be upset about the president's death instead of the cancellation of the study-date. The end of the story explains how she is looking out of a window at the crisp white snow, but won't look down at the dirty snow on the ground. This symbolizes how she only thinks about Eugene, and is aware of the president's death. However, she doesn't want to pay attention to the mess, but only to what she finds appealing.
Irony is a very significant element in literature. However, the meaning of irony is often confused with a simple 'coincidence'. Irony is a figure of speech in which the intended meaning and the actual meaning differ. There are four major types of irony. These consist of situational irony, verbal irony, dramatic irony, and tragic irony. Irony involves a difference or contrast between appearance and reality. Examples of situational and dramatic irony includes what is and what ought to be, what is and what seems to be, what is and what one wishes to be, and what is and what one expects to be. The three most common types of irony include verbal, situational, and dramatic.