The Use of Irony in The Farming of Bones

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The Use of Irony in The Farming of Bones

The 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...