Dramatic Irony: Marnus' Mother Saying You Shouldn't Judge By Appearances
Marnus' mother is very annoyed with Ilse when she says something negative about the Spiro twins' appearance and berates her for judging anyone by the way that they look. This is very ironic because she judges everyone on the color of the skin without getting to know them first, assuming that because someone is colored or black they are lazy, rude, shiftless and liable to steal from you at the drop of a hat. She herself does not seem to appreciate the irony of the comment and believes that she gives everyone the opportunity to prove their character before she judges them. The fact that she believes you "can't help what you look like" does not seem to extend to the color of somebody's skin.
Dramatic Irony: Marnus' Mother Helping Poor White People
Marnus' mother is well known for her generosity to poor white families and individuals in the neighborhood; in fact she considers it her duty as a human being to help those less fortunate, regularly donating money, food, time and the children's outgrown clothes to families in the area. She firmly believes that they cannot help their circumstances and it is not their fault that they find themselves short of money. This is ironic because she does not extend this generosity of gifts, or generosity of thought, to black families, whom she believes have created their own economic troubles by being lazy, uneducated and generally not working as hard as they could.
Dramatic Irony: Marnus' Father's View of Dangerous Black People
Marnus' father does not like the children to go out alone after a certain time of day. He is comfortable with Marnus going out to play if he has a friend with him, but is afraid that Ilse will get into a dangerous situation as he believes that the black Africans are a great danger to the local children, including his own. This is incredibly ironic because the greatest danger to the young male white children is himself; he has done more harm to Frikke, and by association, Marnus, himself, than any of the Africans in the area have ever done.
Situational Irony: The Smell of Apples
The smell of apples is a symbol of a wonderful time in the heady innocence of Marnus' childhood but ironically it is the smell of apples that also brings the innocence of his childhood to a very abrupt end as it is the symbol of Frikke's molestation by his father. It is also somewhat ironic that to Marnus the smell of apples reminds him of a wonderful time of childish innocence and freedom, and to Frikke it reminds him of an end to both of those things.
The Smell of Apples Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Smell of Apples is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.