Mine Boy

Mine Boy Irony

Eliza Leaves Malay Camp (Situational Irony)

Even though Eliza's attitude to Xuma oscillates several times during Mine Boy, when she moves in with him, it seems as though she has overcome her revulsion to him and accepted her love and attraction. However, Xuma's and the reader's expectations are subverted when Xuma wakes to find Ma Plank in his room and Eliza gone. In hindsight, her decision to leave is consistent with past behavior, but in the moment, Eliza's abandonment is wholly unexpected.

Police Sting Operation Against Leah (Situational Irony)

Though the reader is led to believe that Leah has taken the necessary precautions to avoid arrest, the Fox and his police force catch her red-handed as she and the others are burying the barrels of beer in her yard. Both Leah's and the reader's expectations are undermined in this example of situational irony, where the opposite of what was anticipated happened.

Di's and Paddy's True Feelings About Xuma (Dramatic Irony)

In an example of dramatic irony, the point of view stays with Di and Paddy after Xuma leaves their apartment. Xuma goes away feeling an affection for Di, and believes she sympathized with his difficulties in regards to Eliza's assimilationist conflict. However, the reader knows more than Xuma does about Di's true feelings toward Xuma: once Xuma is gone, she tells Paddy he is not fully human, sharing an opinion that is condescending and racist. Meanwhile, Xuma continues to distrust Paddy, even though Paddy sticks up for Xuma's humanity.

Xuma's Kindness Toward Johannes (Situational Irony)

After Johannes turns up for work at the mines with a terrible hangover, Xuma offers Johannes the keys to his room, where he says Johannes may have a nap and eat the bread and sardines there. Johannes finds the situation ironic: only a few months earlier, Xuma had nothing and Johannes had helped him get a job at the mine; this time, Xuma is the more responsible man and Johannes is the friend in need.