Satire in ‘the Diary of a Nobody’ by George and Weedon Grossmith
Mr. Pooter is a man of unobtrusive aspirations, content with his conventional life. However he generally is by all accounts grieved by unpalatable tradesmen, rude youthful office agents and wayward companions, also his nonchalant child Lupin with his unsatisfactory decision of lady. In the blundering, preposterous, yet at last charming character of Pooter, the Grossmith siblings made a magnificent picture of the class framework and the inborn self-importance of the rural working class the suburbs – one which sends up the late Victorian rages for Aestheticism, mysticism and bicycling, and in addition the mold for distributing journals by anyone and everyone. Written in 1888 and initially distributed in wordy shape in Punch Magazine, this is a comic novel of Victorian behavior, portrayed by J. B. Priestley as ‘genuine humor…with its blend of silliness, incongruity and warmth.’
The type of the novel is fascinating, and extremely topical for a contemporary Victorian group of onlookers, used to perusing records of ‘popular lives’ composed as extensive diaries and regularly distributed by alleged ‘vanity presses’ (the creators would pay the printers to distribute their work). Charles Pooter, the ‘No one’ of the title, is a moderately aged assistant who lives in North London in the late 1880’s. He chooses to keep a journal of his life and guarantees the reader at the beginning that he ‘neglects to see – on the grounds that I don’t occur to be a Somebody – why my journal ought not intrigue.’ The Grossmith siblings are clearly caricaturizing an artificiality which they (and most likely numerous others) discovered very affected and haughty.
Pooter is unquestionably not a ‘Someone’ – he is an extremely common man with an exceptionally dreary and conventional presence in a London suburb, however he has a huge measure of grandiosity, which is the character attribute in different essayists which the Grossmiths are mocking in this novel. It is sensible to accept that Pooter’s journal would uncover him to be a completely loathsome character, however the inverse is valid. Pooter is a standout amongst the most thoughtful and persisting characters of British comic fiction, portrayed in the Daily Telegraph in 1996 as an ‘ethical prime example’ and a ‘not too bad individual’. (Just to be reasonable, however, the Guardian depicted the character as a ‘slamming bore’!) Have a consider target groups of onlookers for each paper and you may get a few thoughts regarding what Pooter ‘remains’ the extent that readers are concerned.
Satire is a ‘kind of glass (as in a mirror) wherein viewers do for the most part find everyone’s face except their own’ – Jonathan Swift. A comedian is a ‘watchman of models, standards and realities’ somebody who attempts to revise, condemn or criticize the doltish things in the public arena, with the goal that they are featured thus that others can feel scorn and chuckle at them. As it were, a humorist gives you a chance to perceive what is senseless or absurd or amiss with the world we live in by making it funny. Satire is a type of challenge, as such.
The Grossmith’s parody numerous things in Victorian culture, however their parody is, overall, very delicate. They jab fun at grandiose individuals, as Pooter himself, however as we have stated, principally at the vainglorious ‘Somebodies’ and their monotonous journals. They likewise ‘send up’ Victorian designs and patterns, such as cycling (Cummings’ life appears to spin around the ‘Bike News’), mysticism and Aestheticism (we’ll manage them in more detail later). The Diary is additionally a nitty gritty representation of the Victorian class framework and it is here that we may see a somewhat more pointed humorous reason. The highbrow character of the rural working class and the new pattern towards money related theory and consumerism are pointedly caricaturized in Pooter’s dealings with ‘tradesmen’ and in Lupin’s associations with Murray Posh and Daisy Mutlar and his haggling on the share trading system.
How Satire is Used in Both Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Comparison Essay Between Brave New World and “The Tempest”
In the novel, Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, and the play, “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, the concepts of civilization, government, and the individual and his/her role in society are satirized. Huxley’s utopia is embodied by the World State, a scientifically and technologically advanced dictatorship that utilizes drugs, sex and misinformation to keep their citizens blissfully ignorant and content with their lives; Shakespeare’s society occurs on a reclusive island, where justice is more of an illusion than an actual rule-of-law, and that vengeance is the reason behind the inextricable encounters between the wronged inhabiting the island, and the wrongdoers who are stranded there later on. In both works, the concepts aforementioned are manipulated in such a way to illustrate the idea that people’s actions are motivated by self-interest and, as such, are driven to exploit the system in place for their personal benefit.
Civilization in both Brave New World and The Tempest is interpreted and depicted similarly throughout each work, and each have their own disillusioned character that experiences both their world and the foreign one (John the Savage in BNW, Miranda in “The Tempest”), where there is a distinct separation of these worlds: “They took their seats in the plane and set off. Ten minutes later they were crossing the frontier that separated civilization from savagery” (p. 115). The differences between these worlds is what causes cultural clashes between them The portrayal of civilization as being “people-oriented” without being controlled by the people, is demonstrated through the extraordinary amounts of propaganda, sloganizing, and control through sleep hypnosis and other mechanisms of manipulation. The concept of civilization, though played out differently in both works, is nonetheless similar in that both incorporate the basic principles of stability, power hierarchies, and the stressing of community and belonging to it.
The role of government in both these works is immense, as it’s depicted as this omnipotent, otherworldly entity in Brave New World, embodied by the World State and its Controllers, whom, aside from Mustapha Mond, are barely shown in the novel and this lack of depiction can be purposeful, to illustrate the idea of a system of power whose shadowy inner workings are meant to be just that, hidden from public view: “She [Linda] knew him for John, her son, but fancied him an intruder into that paradisal Malpais where she had been spending her soma-holiday with Popé” (p. 209). Here, Linda chooses to spend her last remaining moment under the influence of the drug soma, illustrating the susceptibility of the individual to the overt influence of an all-powerful government. Then there’s government in The Tempest, where Prospero, self-proclaimed, ¬de-facto king of the island he was exiled to and the running of his small community under the institution of his word being the equivalent of law, and that his primary motivation is his self-benefiting version of justice, where everyone is a pawn in his scheme to return to the mainland as Duke of Milan once more.
Individuals are what comprise the communities that have sprung up in both Brave New World and The Tempest, and because the rulers of these societies need their support, or at the very least a lack of opposition, they appeal to their peoples’ desires in order to garner their favor, and then exploit that for their advantage. In Brave New World, the World State, though not a particular proponent of science, uses it in order to keep their populace in a constant state of anaesthetization and, because of these blissful comas, they are unaware of what’s transpiring around them. Individualism itself is taboo in their society, and is expressed in the following motto: “When the individual feels the community reels” (p. 103), which presents the idea that the community is valued more than the individual, and if said individual starts feeling emotions, it holds the community back. In The Tempest, Prospero is depicted as a duplicitous individual who manipulates others to his advantage: “… Welcome! My friends all: –” Prospero says in a polite manner, referring to the castaways, as opposed to his mistreatment and abuse of Caliban: “Thou most lying slave, whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have us’d thee, filth as thou art, with human care; and lodg’d thee in my own cell, till thou didst seek to violate the honor of my child” (I, ii, 344-348).
As both these works come to a close, they reveal that these supposed “utopias” are not as perfect in practical application, as they are in theory, and that the function of these societies are more so geared towards giving the rulers power to govern over the people, rather than have the people govern themselves and make their own decisions. Ultimately, the word “utopia” used to describe these societies is just a nicety for what they really are: dictatorships, ones that appear friendly and egalitarian, but in reality it’s all a façade to keep the people content.
How Satire is Portrayed in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn addresses many of the issues in the Southern United States around the 1850’s. The novel follows the adventures of Huck Finn and his journey through the South attempting to free a slave named Jim. They encounter many mishaps and witness many of the backwards ideologies of the South on their journey. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain uses satire of racism, religion, and Southern society to show how flawed and backwards the South is.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn racism is one of the most prominent criticisms by Twain. One way he uses satire to address this topic is by using the word nigger excessively to mock how often it was used in the South. This is especially true after Jim practically saves Tom’s life “Even though Jim has done the right thing… it does not do much to change his social status. The other characters still refer to him as “nigger,” unable–or unwilling–to read his selfless act in terms of his humanity (Smith).” This quote explains how backwards the South is, because no matter what Jim does he will always be considered a nigger by other people and they’ll assume he’s inferior to them. Another example of Twain’s satire of racism is when Huck and Tom try to rescue Jim from the Phelps’s farm. Huck wanted to rescue Jim as quickly as possible but Tom didn’t agree. When Huck proposed a plan to save Jim, Tom said “Work? Why cert’nly, it would work…but its blame too simple (Twain 247).” This shows that Tom wanted to make a game out of saving Jim. This means Tom thought of Jim’s life as a game just because he was a slave.
Twain makes satire of the Southern people’s devotion to faith because they are so immoral. The humor of it all is that people always make sure to pray and be thankful to God while they’re forcing slaves to work for them day in and day out. Even Ms. Watson, the strongly religious widow is up to evil when Jim said “I hear ole missus tell de wider she gwyne sell me down to Orleans, but she did’ want to, but she could git eight hund’d dollars for me, en it ‘us sich a big stack o’ money she couldn’t’ resis’ (Twain 55).” Ms. Watson said she wouldn’t sell Jim down to New Orleans, but because she could get a lot of money for him she agreed. Another example of satire of religion is Huck’s conception of religion. The Widow tries to teach him about God and how to pray and Huck sees no point in doing it. “Concern for others grows out of Huck’s own capacity for empathy rather than any formal religious training (Nelson).” This quote states that religion has nothing to do with Huck being a good person most of the time. This makes sense because Huck did the right thing most of the time and all the while not caring about praying. This may be Mark Twain’s view on religion as well. That there is no need for religion and that people should just be as good as they can be which is what Huck does throughout the book.
During Huck and Jim’s journey through the South Twain makes plain how stupid and backwards Southern society is. Pap, Huck’s dad, is a satire of the average southerner during that time period. Pap is one of the most racist, inconsiderate, and ridiculous characters in the book. “Pap beats Huck and keeps him locked up, much as Jim is beaten and imprisoned… Pap condemns Huck for being well dressed and educated in much the same way that he later condemns an educated and well-dressed free nigger (Evans).” This quote shows the hypocritical and ignorant ideologies of Pap who is most likely a representation of the average Southerner in Twain’s opinion. Also, the Grangerford and Sherpherdson feud is an example of using satire to prove how foolish people can be. The Feud between the two families was absolutely ridiculous. When Tom asked how it started Buck said “I don’t know… pa knows, I reckon, and some of the other old folks; but they don’t know now (Twain 120).” Twain definitely wanted to show how irrational people could be. Not only were they killing each other as often as possible, but they didn’t even know why they were doing it.
Mark Twain used Satire to point out the flaws in Southern society as a whole. Mostly, he made fun of how ridiculous the South was in terms of racism, religion, and society. It is evident that Mark Twain does not agree with the majority of the South’s beliefs and he has good reason for doing so. Some of the South’s stupidity was caused by plain ignorance, however, much of it was caused by being conceited and full of hate. Pap, for example, was very ignorant, but he also hated a “free nigger” because Pap considered himself better than that man because of the color of his skin just like many other people in the South. Overall, Mark Twain pointed out the many flaws of the South by using satire to show how backwards and wrong the South really is.
How Oscar Wilde Created the Comedy of Manner Brand of Satire in The Importance of Being Earnest
Manners Gone Wilde: The Importance of Being Ernest in Victorian England
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) in The Importance of Being Ernest 1895 play utilizes the comedy of manners brand of satire to lampoon the social etiquette, pretensions, and conventions of Victorian society. Characterizing the comedy of manners are love relationship(s), which constitute the central plot, stereotyped stock characters with whom the common man would be easily able to identify, and witty humor. The flat, undeveloped characters stand for common dogmas or principles or represent an entire slice of society. Due to the rules governing decorum, the comedy of manners is a medium through which playwrights could openly poke fun at conventions without getting jailed or censored. Algernon, commenting on the essentiality of serious comedy, says that “one has to be serious about something, for one to have any amusement in life” (Act 3, Scene 1). This is the fundamental Wildean principle that applies in his comedy of manners play. Wilde evokes sardonic mockery of social orthodoxy by the characters’ comments and actions against serious mores such as marriage, sexuality, religion, government, and social class.
Twinning and double identity is a mechanism in the comedy of manners which leads to the hilarious plot and denouement of Wilde’s play. As the title reveals, Ernest and earnestness are centers upon which the play revolves. The main protagonist, Jack Worthing, unbeknownst to the other characters has a hidden identity as Ernest. As Ernest, Jack delights himself in hedonistic pleasure in London. The intrigue develops with Jack’s double identity as Ernest and his amorous liaison with Gwendolen Fairfax who earnestly desires to marry an Ernest, because it is a charming name to her ear. Jack decides to put away his dissolute Ernest days behind him in order to marry however, fiancée Gwendolen is fixated on the name Ernest since the name inspires more trust in him. For her sake, he undergoes a legal name change to Ernest Worthing. To his detriment as well Algernon Moncrieff’s fiancée, Cecily Cardew, also wants a husband named Ernest. For her, Algernon, also parades as Ernest. In order to woo his future wife, he seeks a certified name change to Ernest. By the end of the play, in a coincidental meeting with Miss Prism, the former Jack Worthing discovers that his father’s name was Ernest and that his original birth name actually is Ernest John. The motif of twinning adds to jocularity since it heightens the tendency to confusion, identity-theft, and labyrinthine messages. Puns, double-entendres, social blunders, timing, and misunderstandings are weaved in together to achieve a humorous sequence of events.
True to the comedy of manners genre, Wilde “saw the need to flaunt abhorrence of conventional taste in dress and behavior” (Hirst 3). As such, Wilde ridicules the institution of marriage, the motives of union, the game of courtship, and the marriage life. At the play’s start, Algernon finds out that marriage is ‘demoralising’ because married women do not allow their men to drink as much as bachelors. Some characters have cynical views on marriage and freely vent them in such a way as to provoke laughter. Algernon does not look forward to marriage because he considers it an end of the excitement of romance to which Jack replies that the Divorce Court was instituted for people like him (Wilde Act 1, Scene 1). Miss Prism jokingly asserts that “no married man is ever attractive except to his wife” (Wilde Act 2, Scene 1). Lady Bracknell, Jack’s aunt, has forgotten her deceased husband’s name and blames his odd behavior to elements such as “the Indian climate, marriage, and indigestion” (Wilde Act 3, Scene 1). These individual opinions on marriage paint a disagreeable picture of marriage as the characters form and air their perspective based on their own experiences and society’s dogmas. In this play, Wilde mimics the marriage of convenience theme through Lady Bracknell who is a stock character representing the Victorian aristocracy which founded marriages on income and estates, rather than on love and compatibility.
“The comedy of manners inherently provides the most appropriate battleground for dramatizing class warfare” (Ross). Lady Bracknell refuses the alliance between Gwendolen and Jack because Jack is an orphan with a common upbringing whereas his fiancée, Gwendolen, comes from a high social class. The marriage interview that Lady Bracknell conducts is intended to deride the upper classes. As Bracknell interrogates Jack, he responds to her questions with suppressed anger; yet with witty answers which betrays the disgruntled attitude of the poorer classes when confronting the possibility of the denial of a marriage due to class disparities and the stigmatic social implications of such improvident alliances. Bracknell’s questions Jack of his family, education, estate, and ties (Wilde Act 1, Scene 2). Lady Bracknell also attempts to erect a barrier between her nephew Algernon and his fiancée Cecily until Bracknell finds out that Cecily is a high-born, moneyed woman, then she changes her mind and consents to the marriage.
“Because social satire is basic to all the plays of this type, the comedy of manners is particularly subversive” (Hirst 4). Wilde undermines religion and conventional sexuality in The Importance of Being Ernest by pervading the play with lies, half-truths, and innuendos. Miss Prism suggests to a priest, Dr. Chasuble, with whom she is in love, that “he should get married” (Wilde Act 2, Scene 1). While Dr. Chasuble upholds Catholicism’s objection against the clergy’s matrimony, Miss Prism continues to rebut him saying that, “men should be more careful; celibacy leads weaker vessels astray” (Wilde Act 2, Scene 1); clearly alluding to the increased temptation in repressed desire for the woman. In the face of Lady Bracknell’s dissent of Jack and Gwendolen’s marriage, Jack retorts “then a passionate celibacy is all that any of us could look forward to” (Wilde Act 3, Scene 1). This statement is anti-Victorian since pre-marital sex is not condoned and considered taboo. Lady Bracknell echoes her disapprobation at this alternative as she quickly refuses this decadent lot for her daughter, Gwendolen.
At dinner, Wilde takes the opportunity to parody tea manners when Gwendolen and Cecily, as two competing females for the supposedly same Ernest, exchange insults. In Victorian England, having dinner was a formal affair where everyone is instructed to be one his or her best behavior. Table etiquette, customary niceties, and polite conversation are indispensable to having a decent tea with someone else. However, due to double-entendres about the two Ernest’s, the women betray their ire, each wishing that the other would stay away from her Ernest. Wilde repeats his parodying of Victorian table manners when Jack and Algernon have tea. They quarrel that they cannot both be re-christened Ernest and argue over tea-cakes and muffins.
In Act I, Scene 2, Lady Bracknell is inviting Algernon to dinner; however he opts out of her gracious request, saying that Bunbury, his brother is sick, which is a blatant lie.
The irony of The Importance of Being Ernest/Earnest is that no one embodies that virtue. The men, Jack and Algernon, change like Proteans in order to marry and satisfy their desires to be married. The women, Gwendolen and Cecily, demand that they would marry no other than a man called Ernest, hoping that their Ernests are earnest. Lady Bracknell holds hollow, aristocratic standards that only serve to condescendingly remind the other characters of their inferior ranks, choosing to focus her energies on the superficial social trapping of social pedigree rather than character analysis. Lady Bracknell reveals that the Tories and Liberal Unionists’ only significance to her is their visits to her place to have tea and dinner. Tories and Liberal Unionist are opposing sections in British parliament, therefore one observes that politics and social reform does not matter to her. Her attitude reflects the traditional apolitical or politically passive stance of the indifferent rich.
In sum, Oscar Wilde chooses to challenge Victorian morality through the comedy of manners genre where marriage, class conflict, sexuality, religion, and government are attacked. At the same time, the comic element most often surfaces as mistaken identities, twinning, double-entendres, and levity at serious issues. “With The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde uses his wit like a sword to slash trough rules of etiquette, to poke fun at the aristocracy and academia, and to thrust forward his own philosophy as a committed aesthete” (Wonner 11). Indeed, Wilde’s comedy of manners takes satiric plays in a whole new direction, daring to defy mores, instead choosing to focus on humor and beauty to criticize and see truth more clearly.
The Literary Devices Used in Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a science-fiction parody novel by Douglas Adams. It can be classified as an absurdist story where the protagonist searches a meaning to life. Throughout this character’s journey, he’s faced with multiple obstacles which are totally absurd events that defy all logic reason. This novel particularly stands out for its distinguishing writing style. It’s specifically particular because of its use of multiple literary devices, gallows humour and satire to emphasizes the absurdity of the novel, which truly is what makes it unique. Adams sheds light on the ridiculousness and silliness of things we generally regard as normal.
Literary devices to convey absurdity
Many times throughout the novel, Douglas Adams uses literary devices to amplify the absurdity of his narrative. For example, the narrator uses the personification of a bowl of petunias when he tells the story of two missiles targeting the Heart of Gold that are changed into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias using the Infinite Improbability Drive. During its fall to its doom, the bowl of petunia, given humanlike characteristics, has time to think “Oh no, not again” before reaching its splattered demise. This is a good example of the use of absurdity through personnification.
Adams also makes a parallelism between the destruction of Arthur Dent’s house and the destruction of the Earth by the Vogons. In both cases, the house and the Earth are destroyed to make way for a bypass, and both leader of the destructions, M. Prosser and Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, use the same argument: Arthur and the residents of the Earth should have known about these plans since they were on display. There’s a great sense of absurdity within the fact that the city council’s reasons for the abrupt demolishing of Arthur’s house are the same as the Vorgons’ reasons for destroying the Earth. This absurdity alludes to Adam’s view of the world and the general silliness of the society and bureaucratic nonsense.
Lastly, the narrator also uses foreshadowing, which consists in giving an advance hint to what’s to come later in the story. For instance, in chapter sixteen, the narrator notes that the stress is a serious problem after Arthur said “The suspense is killing me”. So to avoid too much suspense, the narrator reveals a few things to the reader in advance. There’s absurdity behind the fact that Adams reveals twist and turns that look far-fetched to the reader considering that the latter is unable to make sense of these revelations since they’re so far away in the story’s timeline. Adam probably used this literary device in order to create suspense and to generate a need to see how the story develops.
In brief, the use of literary devices such as personification, parallelism and foreshadowing really emphasizes the absurdity of the climax and overall plot line of Douglas Adams’ novel.
The use of gallows humour
The tone employed by Adams throughout his fictional story is gallows humor. By definition, gallows humour consist of making fun of a hopeless, disastrous or terrifying situation. The narrator makes sure that every life-threatening situation Arthur Dent ends up into is resolved in a quirky, dark and dry humoristic and ridiculous way. Adams mostly makes use of this type of humor when a character knows something awful is going to happen and there’s nothing to do about it. For example, a good usage of gallows humor would be when Arthur and Ford are caught by Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz while hiding from him. Ford humoristically says : “If we’re unlucky, the captain might be serious in his threat that he’s going to read us some of his poetry [before he throws us into space]…” Adams decides to make a joke out of a life-threatening situation knowing that the reader will ask himself an absurd question that would normally have no place in circumstances like these.
Another good use of gallows humor is when Arthur starts to realize the fact that the Earth is now destroyed and everything he has known is lost. Instead of grieving the loss of his loved ones, he’s shattered by the fact that there are no supermarkets anymore. “There was no way his imagination could feel the impact of the whole Earth having gone, it was too big. He prodded his feelings by thinking that his parents and his sister had gone. No reaction. He thought of all the people he had been close to. No reaction. Then he thought of a complete stranger he had been standing behind in the queue at the supermarket before and felt a sudden stab—the supermarket was gone, everything in it was gone. Nelson’s Column had gone! Nelson’s Column had gone and there would be no outcry, because there was no one left to make an outcry. From now on Nelson’s Column only existed in his mind. England only existed in his mind—his mind, stuck here in this dank smelly steel-lined spaceship. A wave of claustrophobia closed in on him.” In a serious and hopeless situation, Arthur jokes about missing more his local supermarket rather than his family members.
Lastly, Adams also use gallows humour when Arthur meets with Slartibartfast and they both leave in his aircar. The old man tells Arthur : “Follow me or you’ll be ‘late.’ And by ‘late,’ I mean ‘dead.’’
In conclusion, gallows humor is used quite a lot by Adams to get to most out of disastrous situations. It really brings out the absurdity of this novel since every joke is completely absurd. While the book in question may not make everyone laugh, the completely “off the wall” questions and use of gallows humor are what’s truly funny.
Satire and mocking modern times
From time to times, Douglas Adams uses satire to expose and criticize foolishness and corruption of modern society with humor, irony and exaggeration. He often makes jokes on social problems and morality. For instance, he used satire in the beginning of the novel as a tool to share his point of view on the Earth and humans. “Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. Most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.” In this excerpt, the author starts off by using derision and humor to communicate his negative opinion on the subject. Then he goes on satirizing the weakness and flaws of humans such as greed, pessimism and insatiability and condemns the society of being mammonnish and rapacious.
Latter in the novel, as explained before, Arthur is worried about his house being destroyed for the construction of a bypass. However, this problem becomes unimportant when the entire Earth is destroyed for much the same reason. Many of the situations mirror event on Earth, but are exaggerated for comedic effect. The destruction of an entire planet is seen by Vogons as unimportant; on a galactic scale, planets and races are destroyed everyday. That’s why Arthur’s concern is mocked and ignored. With these two satiristic scenarios, Adams was able to show the absurdity in everyday life and how constant worry over small issues is counter-productive.
Overall, the use of satire ruthlessly expose the absurdity of modern existence, particularly the bureaucracy and self-importance of humankind. It really shows how thing that we consider of great importance are actually insignificant in the larger scheme of things. This is what makes his writing style humorous and absurd.
A not so Modest Proposal
Jonathan Swift, author of “A Modest Proposal”, utilizes his mastery of satire, outrageous claims, and rhetorical devices; Satire is the use of irony and exaggeration to expose or criticize people’s stupidity, vices, and faults. Swift succeeds in discretely criticizing the contemporary politics and policies of England; policies that potentially, and were mainly blamed on, driving Irelands economy into a depression. Swift adopts the persona of a well-intentioned economist, suggesting that the poverty and famine in Ireland can be dealt with by selling children for food and clothing; As a result, Swift argues that not only will the income of the poor increase significantly, but as well the population will decrease proportionally. Swift provides much detail regarding the number of servings a child might provide, projecting the costs of each child sold and their profit, and he estimates the amount of population affected. Swift even suggests that the meat of children would be a delicacy to the English and wealthy Irish land owners.
Although, in reality, Swift denounces England with clever use of irony and metaphors; describing how the Irish can be rid of their useless, needy children by selling them at the “delicious” age of one year for food and their skin for clothing. Therefore, each child sold would be contributing back to Irelands depreciated economy. Swift purposely uses logical fallacies and a very “knowledgeable” tone to satirize England. Swifts persona, a well-meaning economist whose sympathy for the poor of Ireland leads him to suggest cruel and murderous solutions, completely undermining any thoughtful intent. With such outrageous thoughts as “a young healthy child well nursed is a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food.” Claims such as these catch the attention of the reader and shock them, but this is exactly what Swift wanted. By grossing out the “public” with shock factors, he had hoped they would take a second glance at the corrupt policies in place and hopefully reform it. Throughout “A Modest Proposal”, Swift discreetly uses this shocking rhetoric as political attacks against England, suggesting that England is the core of the poverty and saddened population. At one point in the essay, Swift describes how the meat of children could not withstand long voyages without spoiling, though he “could name a country which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.” Alluding to England and the “devouring” of Irelands resources.
Swifts use of a “knowledgeable” tone humorizes a very dark subject. Swift, with his economist persona, utilizes logos, presenting made up statistics to sound much more professional and credible. Giving such statistics as the number of children in Ireland, the number of children born per year, and the amount of money that could possibly be made from selling Irish children. Throughout the entire essay, Swift uses metaphors such as the comparing of physically eating a child, to financially
destroying Ireland. When Swift suggests that “20,000” children should be kept for “breeding” he is comparing them to animals. Overall, comparing how English authorities treat the Irish like animals. Although, Swift slowly shifts his tone from knowledgeable to serious throughout the essay, almost unnoticeably becoming a satire essay to a very serious politically driven one. Very clearly satirizing those who have proposed solutions that are solutions to economic issues, without fully considering the human cost involved. Swift shows the inhumanity of schemes that are based only on greedy principles. Although Swifts use of irony is very shocking at first sight, another glance over and understating the greater historical context, reveals Swifts great genius and subtlety; I strongly agree with Swift as, he shows a complete mastery over irony and sarcasm, shocking readers with the solution of infant cannibalism. While in doing so, Swift shows the hypocrisy of politics, and politicians that caused the depression of Ireland. Swift recognized a problem, and proposed an unorthodox solution using only his pen, paper, and sarcasm.
The Life of Kurt Vonnegut
Satire enthusiasts Kurt Vonnegut mixed comedy and real life events to offer a new perspective on things he experienced. He was a late 20th century writer who was famous for his science fiction and satiristic books. He won many awards and even has a library in his hometown dedicated to him. Kurt Vonnegut was a great American writer who put a satiristic twist on critical events in his life and was able to voice his beliefs through his lifetime.
Kurt was born on November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The son of Kurt Vonnegut Sr. and Edith Lieber. His father was an architect, and his mother owned a family brewery. Kurt went to high school in Indianapolis. This is where he started writing for his school newspaper, which helped start his career. After high school he went to college at Cornell University, where he studied biochemistry. Two years into college he decided to leave and join the army. Kurt was sent to Carnegie Mellon University to study engineering for the army. He would then serve in WWII, and was then shipped overseas to fight in the war. While in Germany, he was a scout in the Battle of Bulge. Soon thereafter, he witnessed the bombing of Dresden. He survived this gruesome bombing by hiding in an underground meat locker. Kurt would later get captured by the Germans. As a prisoner of war Kurt experienced the horrors of the Germans. During his time of service in 1945, ‘Vonnegut got frostbite and was discharged from the army’ (Raga, Suzanna 2017). After the war he went back to college and attended the University of Chicago to study anthropology. This is also around the time he decide to marry Jane Marie Cox. They would go on to have three children and adopt his sisters three children. While in Chicago Kurt took his hand at writing. He got a job as a reporter. This is when he figured out he wanted to be a writer full-time.
Kurt Vonnegut would go on to become one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He had many small writing jobs like working as a reporter, being a writer for Sports Illustrated, and working for public relations in. After these odd jobs, Kurt went on to write many famous works including Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse-5, and Breakfast of Champions. Cat’s Cradle was a bestselling book that earned Vonnegut his Masters´ Degree from the University of Chicago. Slaughterhouse-5 was a book based on Vonnegut’s experiences as a prisoner of war and the Dresden bombing. Breakfast of Champions was written as a reflection of the American society and its value.
Kurt Vonnegut is best known for satirical works that are filled with humour. He developed this unique writing style early on. This can be noticed in a piece he wrote for Sports Illustrated. ‘The horse jumped over the f***ing fence’ (Anguelov, Zlatko 2009). He was also known for his dark humour and science fiction books. Many of his books are science fiction including The Sirens of Titan and Breakfast of Champions. His unique style even caused people to create a term for works with similar styles to his. The term is ‘vonnegutian,’ which means of or relating to Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Kurt Vonnegut impacted American literature greatly. He influenced the genre of science fiction with his books and expanded peoples perspectives on like things. Slaughterhouse-5 offered a new perspective on his experience as a prisoner of war, and adds science fiction elements to this event. During and after his life, Kurt Vonnegut achieved many things. Vonnegut won many awards with his special writing style thanks to his books such as Slaughterhouse-5, Cat’s Cradle, and Breakfast of Champions.
Kurt Vonnegut died on April 11, 2007. He had an accident on the stairs of his home, and suffered head injuries. He would later die as a result of said injuries. At the time of his death, Vonnegut was 84 years old. Recently in 2010, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library was opened in Kurt´s honor. The library was opened in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. ‘In addition to promoting the work of Vonnegut, the nonprofit organization served as a cultural and educational resource centre, including a museum, an art gallery, and a reading room’ (Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia 2019). Even in death, Kurt Vonnegut publishes books. In the years after his passing, he has had at least nine books published since his passing. ‘Not even death can conquer the great Kurt’ (Garrett and Peyton 6th Period).
The Issue with Memes Overpopulation in Our World
Memes are overpopulating and it is a problem, while memes are growing in numbers it takes over the internet. Memes are all over the internet, in fact memes are on facebook, tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, they are everywhere! Since memes are overpopulating we need to be aware of what memes are being shared. There are dead memes, stale memes, and new memes. We need to get rid of Dead Memes.It all started with the big hit, “Who Let The Dogs Out,” and memes have grown in numbers ever since. These are dead memes and they are still being used to this day. The pop tart cat, “Nyan Cat” is an example of a dead meme.
Critics say Dead Memes being used today and they are annoying, useless, and not funny anymore so people need to stop. The meme “Do You Know The Wae,” is a dead meme but people are still using it in schools. To put it simply, memes that are dead should not be used as the term “dead” describes them. To call a meme dead, it means that that meme is old or has lost its popularity. If a meme is stale then that means that the meme is losing its popularity. But the real problem isn’t just the stale and dead memes, it is the mass production of memes. Memes are entertaining but not original. Memes like these are so bad and so useless that no one knows why these people make the memes.Memes are a problem because they take away time from people and they are useless except for the 2 seconds of entertainment.
If you were to spend your time on memes all day, you are going nowhere. Instead you could be learning how to code, or building something useful for other people. Memes take away valuable time away from people. If the memes were to stop producing so much stuff then there wouldn’t be this problem in the first place. If only there was a way to stop the overproduction of memes, then we will be truly saved.What is something that YOU can do to stop the overpopulation of memes? You can spread awareness and tell people to stop the overproduction of memes. If your name is Thanos then you can snap your fingers in a metal glove to make all the memes seize to exist. If your name is Light Yagami then you can write the names of the memes being made and get rid of them in your Death Note. If your name is the same name of the person reading this right now, you can tell people to stop making memes. You can use the hashtag #StopMemesFromOverpopulating on Instagram or a Social Media. You can help society get rid of the Overpopulated memes. You can be the solution.
Satire as One of the Most Powerful Forms of Expression
Satire, one of the most powerful forms of expression, has many purposes. However, it is primarily intended to convey society’s crucial issues. Employing humor, irony, and sarcasm to prove the satirist’s argument and demonstrate the ridiculousness of the topic at hand, satire attracts wide audiences and causes readers to think critically and analyze the work to understand the argument made by the satirists. Moreover, by using satire, satirists are able to indirectly express their argument. It is utilized in several subjects to demonstrate a wide array of topics; however, it is mainly used in various forms of art, such as comics, politics, entertainment and much more.
A Canadian television reporter and TV personality, John Doyle, once said, “There are specific periods when satire is necessary. We’ve entered one of those times.” This statement highlights the evident existence of some of the most prominent issues faced by the world. People being held knowing the reason of their arrest; blackmailing becoming a hobby to implicate the innocent; the loyal and truthful being pointed out as liars; the killing of animals unnecessarily or as a sport; exploitation of natural resources to satisfy human greed; implication of innocent people for crimes they did not commit; wars breaking out in various regions of the world, killing millions of people and showing no signs of ending in the near future; apparent racism and discrimination in many countries; global poverty; the increase in greenhouse gases, resulting in unstable weather and global warming; injustice in politics and the vast number of immoral politicians who commit various illegal activities, and much more.
Voicing opinions on such controversial topics requires a great amount of bravery and confidence in today’s society. They can be ignored if they don’t hold strong opinions. So, what better tool than satire to voice such criticism? Satire can be found in almost every form of writing, from controversial newspapers to cartoons and comics, from books to movies, TV shows and documentaries. Most critics utilize satire to successfully express their arguments. Messages that were used to be ignored or punished with, are now reaching millions in satirical form today, making a huge difference in the advancing society. According to Geoffrey Baym, the Chairman of Temple University’s media and communications department, “Satire is a way of challenging power when the legitimate ways of challenging power are closed off,” This statement mainly suggests the role and power of satire in world politics. One of its best utilizations is shown in democracy. One such instance can be taken from the current Trump era.
According to the majority of reporters and TV personalities, Trump is making satire great again! He is the target of most comedians due to his odd take-offs. Some of the most famous TV show hosts who use satire to criticize Trump include Sophia McCLennan, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, etc. As can be seen from their large audiences, this technique is flawless. John Oliver, a Canadian television personality, known for implementing extreme satire to discuss world news and politics, proved the fact that Trump lies about many things through various satirical representations of genuine examples. For example, he showed that the claim Trump made about self-funding, his own campaign, is wrong because half of his funding came from individual contributions. The audience laughed and made realizing sounds of Trump’s lies. Furthermore, satire has not left any stone unturned when it comes to portraying dictatorship. One great example is the movie, “The Great Dictator.” It is one of the first movies that used satire to mock a historical political situation of the Nazi Germany. The movie was not all comedy. However, it delivered a serious message about the terrorizing Nazi rule. As a result, this revolutionizing movie attracted a huge audience. This shows how powerful satire is when it comes to criticizing the powerful.
Satirists know how to target the weak points of any subject in the most hilarious and powerful manner. These works prompt people to wake up and find solutions to end corruption. However, Satire can create controversies at initial stages, can even bring down the criticizers, but its ability to throw sharp opinions would suppress the activists against the majority. Over time, though, satirical works are used in campaigns to make the world a better place. Comedic satire is also one of the most attractive and powerful forms of satire. One of the most famous historical piece of satirical work, “The Modest Proposal”, written by Jonathan Swift, is known for its use of creative irony. It highlights the terrible poverty faced by Ireland in the 18th century. What makes it both ironical and surprising, is the author’s innovative idea of Irish parents earning money by selling their children as food to the English, who were rich and civilized at that time. Throughout this piece, Swift demonstrates the issue of ignorant Englishmen not lending their hand to help the poor of Ireland. Moreover, in today’s world, a large part of comical satire is memes. They are the key as to why satire is becoming increasingly popular today, on social media and the Internet in general.
Memes played a huge role in the latest presidential election in the United States of America. People enjoyed these memes as a way to lighten the serious dilemma they faced in choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, as many felt both were unsuitable in many ways. At the same time, these memes conveyed the issue of the dilemma faced by the voters of who can make a better president. In conclusion, satire is one of the most powerful forms of expression because of its prominent role in almost all subjects. The examples listed above indicate how satire can be both hilarious and serious at the same time. After all, what is more deadly and powerful than the combination of humor and seriousness? Satire is a master at questioning the authority of the powerful and suppressing their corrupt dreams and ambitions. It easily challenges society and its people without causing any harm or destruction. It conveys critical mockery and humor. That is the power of Satire.
Moliere: a Man of Medicine and Mockery
Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid is full of specific references to 17th Century France, and could be alienating for a contemporary audience. By setting the play in the current-day United States, with an emphasis on the health care system, and huge gaps between social classes, The Imaginary Invalid could become not only a commentary on antiquated French medicine, but also a biting contemporary political satire. Moliere, born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere, is indisputably the most respected French comedic playwright ever (Life of Moliere: With An Elegant head). Unfortunately, there are no letters, journals, or original manuscripts left of Moliere’s work (Maskell).
As a result, scholars cannot completely determine that Moliere wrote all the plays generally attributed to him. The most controversial claim about the mystery in Moliere’s life is that his most well-loved pieces were actually written by Cornielle (Peacock). Scholars also debate the precise professions and backgrounds of his parents, although the majority agree that his father and grandfather were tapissier de roi for the French kings. Even Jean-Baptiste’s birth year is not known. Only his baptism was recorded – January 15, 1622 – but he may have been anywhere between newborn and several years old at the time (Scott). Scholars to know that he eventually studied “under the Jesuits a the highly competitive College de Clermont,” (Maskell). We do not know much for certain about Moliere’s experience at Clermont, but there is much to infer simply from knowing he went to the most popular college in Paris (Scott). Vast forests have died in vain as scholars have tried to prove that he entered the 5th class in 1637 or the 6th class in 1631. But, in fact, this is one of the hundreds of thousands of things about the life of Moliere we cannot know. (Scott 15)Still, at a school like Clermont, Moliere would have learned Greek and Latin and almost certainly would have read and acted in classical plays (Scott). This background in classical theatre was clearly present in the plays he wrote later in his life.
In The Imaginary Invalid, the stage directions in the Prologue call for a Pulcinella, a character from Commedia Dell’Arte that Moliere would have been familiar with from his studies at Clermont (Moliere 348). After graduating from Clermont at approximately age fifteen, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin took over his father’s role in the court as tapissier de roi for King Louis XIII (Scott 27). Although there is no definitive primary evidence, Virginia Scott believes that he then studied law and worked as a lawyer for a period of six months before beginning his career on the stage (Scott 30). In his 20s, established a theatre company with some friends in Fauxbourg St. Germain and began calling himself Moliere instead of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin for the first recorded time (Life of Moliere: With An Elegant head). Moliere was both a playwright and actor in his company, and for the rest of his career.
The theatre company, called “Illustre Theatre”, fell in debt quickly and eventually Moliere was imprisoned for a time in a debtor’s prison (Parkin). Upon his release he took his plays to the provinces and gained wealthy patrons and then returned to Paris in 1658 with some success (Parkin). Having grown up in upper-class society, the life of a poor playwright may have been a shock for Moliere. His plays frequently criticized social hierarchy through satire, which likely came from his life observing people in many different classes and social standings.
Once he returned from the provinces of France, his performances were generally for the court and upper-class people, even though they so often criticized the social hierarchy present in France (Life of Moliere: With An Elegant head). In the last few years of his life, when Moliere wrote The Imaginary Invalid, scholars have concluded that the playwright had grown quite ill. Satirizing doctors was not a new concept with The Imaginary Invalid, but one can assume that since he was so close to death himself Moliere had had increasing contact with physicians. Moliere lived with tuberculosis for many years before dying of it, and doctors at the time had no cure for the disease. In those years he grew fussy, irritable, and depressed, according to friends and colleagues (Scott 244). On the day of his death, Moliere acted in The Imaginary Invalid playing Argon, a character who seems oddly similar to the actor himself at that point in his life (Scott 243). Interestingly, many aspects of Argon’s life reflect that of Moliere in his final days: Moliere had just begun renting a new apartment which bore remarkable similarity to the stage directions about Argon’s “elaborately furnished” house, he had a distrust of doctors and preferred herbal remedies (Scott 254).
The difference between the character and the actor is that, as Virginia Scott pointed out, the lease for his new apartment “was for six years; Moliere was not expecting to die,” (Scott 253). Moliere was a man of many worlds. He lived as a student, a courtier, a lawyer, a prisoner, a playwright, an actor, and a patient. All these worlds are reflected in Moliere’s plays.