The Good Terrorist Irony

The Good Terrorist Irony

The irony of the bomb blast.

The first act of actual terrorism in the work, besides the story of Alice and her constant kleptomania, is a bomb that is designed for a strategic goal accidentally goes off, killing five innocent people. This is the central irony of the novel, showing how good intentions mixed with dogma ends with the loss of life.

The irony of Alice and her parents.

Alice is attempting to be an agent of justice in a world she perceives to be unfair. But she never really moves on from stealing from her parents. That is an ironic commentary of the youthful desire for justice, that somehow, maybe young rebels really only care about their own interests and making their parents look bad.

The irony of the communist way of life.

Remember that the core belief of communism is that through the elimination of class divides, we can form communist utopias, but what does that look like in the book? The communist co-op is filthy and unkempt. No one is willing to do even minimal amounts of work. That's a pretty clear criticism of the ironic truth of communism, that entitlement and victim-mentality bring out the absolute nastiest part of people, under the guise of social reform. At least, that's the perspective of the novel.

The irony of dogma.

The irony of dogma is that people who want to do good often appeal to grand systems that quickly devolve into legalistic dogmas, causing them to operate from a judgmental, dehumanizing point of view. In other words, dogma is a pitfall for the well-intentioned, and, ironically, most social reformers fall into it. In the novel, the literally all fall victim to their dogmatic perception.

The irony of confirmation bias.

Although this isn't made explicitly clear, it's obviously implied. This is also related to dogma, since dogma serves the person by giving them something to confirm. It gives them a bias. The irony of confirmation bias is that according the psychologically observed phenomenon of confirmation bias, those most inclined to see the world through a specific set of rules or a specific, close-minded point of view, that their experience of the world supports their blindness to the truth.

This is ironic because it causes those who feel the most right to end up the most wrong in the long run. Self scrutiny and empathy quickly go away, and the person just starts to reinforce whatever worldview they've managed to compose, accurate or not, loving or not. Alice believes that her own parents are the epitome of evil, even though they're small business owners fallen on hard times, not because it was true, but because it was convenient for her to believe that way about them. Then her experience of them continually reinforced that assumption until she finally had the gumption to do actual harm to them.

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