Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood Irony

"During summer break the university called in the riot police, who broke down the barricades and arrested the students inside. This was nothing special. It's what all the schools were doing at the time. The universities were not so easily 'dismantled'" (p. 47) (dramatic irony)

The high-flown rhetoric of the student protesters seems to suggest that powerful and violent things would happen from their occupation of the school, but just as Toru intuits in going to work during this time, all simply returns to normal without any substantial damage or change whatsoever; this is because the powers that be are simply too strong, like a father who disciplines his weak and unruly children.

People outside the sanatorium are more sick than the ones inside (situational irony)

When Toru tells Reiko and Naoko of Nagasawa and the womanizing lifestyle that Nagasawa dragged him into, the two of them point out that Nagasawa must be sicker than the people in the sanatorium. In fact, as Reiko points out by joking about her own mental condition several times, the people within the sanatorium are more normal than the "normal" people outside whose lives are silently ripped apart by their own repressed, untreated emotional tensions. Whereas the world of Tokyo is a hectic and maddening bustle, Ami Hostel is clean, quiet, and orderly.

Nagasawa is hurt by Hatsumi's suicide (dramatic irony)

Despite Toru's assessment of him and his own self-proclaimed egoism, Nagasawa seems regretful the day after his disastrous dinner with Toru and Hatsumi; Toru mentions that, years later, Hatsumi's suicide prompts a message from Nagasawa saying for once that he felt hurt by something. Naturally, Toru feels almost disgusted by this reaction; but perhaps even Nagasawa was more human than he himself thought.

Naoko dies just when she seemed to be getting better (dramatic irony)

The end of chapter 10 seems to bode well for all characters, for Toru and Midori have finally come to the full realization of their love for each other, and Reiko's letters inform Toru that Naoko is improving. The next chapter abruptly begins with mentions of more letters from Reiko, except that they are ones about Naoko's death.