Unaccustomed Earth Irony

Unaccustomed Earth Irony

Irony of life's difficulties.

This irony is best stated by the Biblical writer of Ecclesiastes who says, "The rain falls on both the righteous and the wicked," or in other words—life doesn't care about our individual situations, and sometimes it's those who are struggling the most who are caused to suffer more.

This doesn't mean that life is portrayed as a negative thing in the collection, but it does bring up a contrast of expectation. We expect different endings to the stories than we are given, because we want good things to happen to the main characters, but the characters just continue to suffer throughout, finding meaning and refuge in any community they can find.

The irony of education.

Ironically, education is not offered as the solution to all the problems for immigrant communities. Education is usually believed to be the solution to any problem, but in this collection, the reader's attentions are drawn to the isolating effects of higher education, and the choice to move forward in an individualistic community.

The irony of family duty and individualism.

This irony exists across the earth, but especially in this collection. The central twist here is that young people are asked by their families to go make themselves successful, but in order to do so, they have to abandon the family in a sense. This is an unfortunate reality for many people in the collection.

The irony of loss in troubled friendships.

When loneliness is a problem, every relationship counts, so many characters in the stories share this ironic feature—that losing people is a good and bad thing at once. When Sudha finally closes the door on Rahul, it's not a good thing for anyone, because they needed each other. But when Sang's boyfriend cheats on her an ultimately leaves her, that is not a bad loss, but it actually still is for Sang, because of her loneliness. In other words, loneliness causes the ironic problem of trying to figure out whether people are helping in the first place, because many times, they're not.

The irony of community in immigrant populations.

There is a serious problem in immigrant populations for the young people who live in them, because America is not like many countries in the East. Eastern cultures tend to view family obligation as an unspoken truth, but in America, those cultural virtues are vices, because they inhibit personal accomplishment in the economy. So what does community even mean for the immigrant communities? For the older generation, it means continuing the family traditions, but for younger characters, which is most of the characters in this collection, community means education, marriage and friendships, and this ironic contrast poses serious threats for many of our protagonists here.

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