It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story Irony

Craig's Paralysis

Craig's life at Executive Pre-Professional presents him with an array of responsibilities. However, his mental state prevents him from fulfilling his obligations, no matter how much he wants to fulfill them: "I used to not be able to lie down anywhere; I used to be always up and doing something, but once the Cycling starts I can waste hours, just lying and looking at the ceiling, and time goes slowly and really fast at the same time" (106). This response to time ("slowly and really fast") itself seems to involve a logical inconsistency. And Craig himself may be getting the logic of the situation backwards, since the pressure he feels in school may be the cause of the problem, not the effect of something else that is fundamentally wrong with him.

Life in Six North

Even after becoming accustomed to his new routine and his fellow patients, Craig has harsh words for Six North: "This place isn't real. This is a facsimile of life, for broken people. I can handle the facsimile, but I can't handle the real thing" (259). It is true that Six North can seem like an accurate copy (or facsimile) of the real world's problems. Yet Craig's assessment of his new surroundings is ultimately incorrect: readers learn that Six North has prepared Craig to face the real world, perhaps because Six North is more honest and inclusive than Craig's school surroundings at Executive Pre-Professional.

Craig's Principal

Craig believes that his academic career is in jeopardy after his principal calls Six North. However, his principal takes a very different attitude, offering Craig support and understanding: "Craig, I called you because I got a message from one of our teachers. I just wanted to tell you that you have the school's full support in everything you're going through" (312). Some readers may detect this irony even before it is spelled out. The other adults in Craig's life have tried to help him through his psychological issues, so it is natural that the principal would do the same and completely defeat Craig's (but not the reader's) expectations.

Aaron's Confidence

Throughout It's Kind of a Funny Story, Aaron is presented as one of the most confident and assertive characters. Yet this persona breaks down late in the novel, when Aaron explains to Craig that he has problems of his own. Aaron's dad is on "every form of medication in the book. Mom, too. And then me, with the pot . . . when you come right down to it, there isn't anybody in the house who isn't seriously drugged except the fish" (396). In truth, the problems involving Craig, Aaron, and Nia may be driven by Aaron's own insecurities—not by the psychological pressures faced by the two other, and supposedly more vulnerable, characters.