The Longest Memory

The Longest Memory Irony

Whitechapel Is Responsible for Chapel's Death (Situational Irony)

When Whitechapel learns Chapel has run away, he decides to inform the plantation owner of Chapel's escape route. While Whitechapel tries to justify the decision to himself, convincing himself that Chapel's best chance at a good life is through deference and obedience to his masters, Whitechapel's betrayal results in Chapel being whipped to death. In this instance of situational irony, Whitechapel hopes to prolong his son's life by keeping him on the plantation but instead precipitates the events that lead to Chapel's death.

Sanders Junior Murders His Half-Brother (Situational Irony)

After Chapel is caught and brought back to the plantation, Sanders Junior lashes Chapel two hundred times, and Chapel dies of his injuries. In an instance of situational irony, Sanders later learns from Mr. Whitechapel that Sanders Senior raped and impregnated Chapel's mother, and the man Sanders murdered was his half-brother.

Prideful When She Wants to Summon Disdain (Situational Irony)

When Cook catches her son Chapel reading, she says that she wants to summon disdain and tell him never to read, as slaves are not allowed to read and write. However, she is unable to be angry at him because she is overcome with pride that her son can open a book and read like the white masters. Instead of punishing Chapel, she gives him a big hug and pretends not to have seen him reading aloud.

Sanders Junior Wishes Whitechapel Were His Father (Situational Irony)

At the end of the novel, Sanders Junior encounters Whitechapel's dead body curled on the ground. In his internal monologue, Sanders expresses his admiration of Whitechapel and admits that his father was not as courageous as Whitechapel. Even though Sanders, as the slave overseer, expresses contempt and acts violently toward the slaves, he admits that he would have preferred Whitechapel as a father if only Whitechapel had been white.