The Use Of Irony In The Farming Of Bones

2198 words - 9 pages

The Use of Irony in The Farming of BonesThe Farming of Bones is a fictitious narrative based on historic events - the 1937 massacre of Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic. The plot unfolds through the words of Amabelle Desir, a servant to a military official's wife. We learn her story and her dreams; how she lost her parents, how she became a servant; the life of sugar cane workers i.e. the poverty, the physical and emotional toll, the work demands etc; and we learn how she fell in love with Sebastien Onius. In a nutshell through the novel Edwidge Danticat gives voice to real individuals, who could not raise a voice for themselves. Danticat has used many elements to give her novel an altogether unique touch. The use of irony in the work can be seen through and through and provokes the reader to not just take in the information but also ponder over it.Irony hits the reader from the very beginning and stays till the very end. The name itself has an underlying ironic tone. The book is primarily set around sugarcane harvesters. The rigorous work at times left their skins and bodies chipped away. In a way while they were farming for the food, plucking the crop from the earth, they themselves were being plucked at in the duration of their actions. And in the end they got nothing for it, they had nothing to show for the work that they had done. Most of the wealth they helped accumulate did not result in any benefit for them; they remained stuck in their impoverished life and surroundings. The duality of the title refers to the grueling work and effort that the Haitians put into the sugar cane plantations, and the massacre that comes later. The massacre itself can be viewed a kind of cultivation of death and anguish where the machete, the cane cutter's tools etc all become instruments; the modus operandi of the massacre.In a way the book runs full circle. At the end of the novel one would recall the words "a person never dies as long as their name is remembered, called" (166). The idea behind the statement was that the people who died during the Haitian massacre will be forgotten. But the author has contradicted this very fact. Through her work she had deliberately given a life to the people that died. One can also argue that she tried to negate this fact by embedding Sebastien throughout the novel. The novel begins with his name "His name is Sebastiem Onius" (1). It is also ironic that the novel starts by stating the name of a character that eventually goes missing in the text. The protagonist continues to imagine and remember him after he had disappeared in the massacre.Pain itself is something which in literal sense no one ever wants for themselves. However in the book we are given a more rational use for pain, an ironic use. In the book one of the most memorable parts is the sermon where Anabelle listens as the audience is reminded "of common ties: language, foods, history, carnival, songs, tales, and prayers. His creed was one of memory, how...

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