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The Elements of Satire

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					The Elements of Satire
  Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And
 without sneering teach the rest to sneer; Willing to
 wound, and yet afraid to strike, Just hint a fault, and
    hesitate dislike; Alike reserv'd to blame, or to
 commend, A tim'rous foe, and a suspicious friend.
                    -Alexander Pope
  Satire should, like a polished razor keen, Wound
       with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen.
              -Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
              What is satire?
• Comes from the latin word satura, meaning “dish
  of mixed ingredients”.
• A technique in which a writer ridicules or
  criticizes a person, group, institution or event
  using certain literary devices.
• Usually witty.
• Almost always sarcastic or ironic.
• Usually has a tone of “mock-approval” –
  sarcastically supporting the very thing it is
  criticizing.
How does the definition of satire relate to its latin
  root?
                Forms of Satire
•   Drama (Tartuffe – Moliere, The Importance of Being
    Earnest- Oscar Wilde)
•   Journalism (The Onion)
•   Fiction (“A Modest Proposal” – Jonathan Swift, “The
    Lowest Animal” & The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    – Mark Twain, )
•   Poetry (The Rape of the Locke – Alexander Pope,
    various Jonathan Swift poems)
•   Graphic Arts (editorial cartoons)
•   Television programs (Saturday Night Live, The Chapelle
    Show, The Daily Show)
•   Music (With God on Our Side – Bob Dylan, Don’t Drink
    the Water – Dave Matthews band, Our Town – The
    GoGos)
        Literary Devices in Satire
•   Verbal irony/sarcasm
•   Euphemism
•   Parody
•   Juxtaposition (especially of normal and ridiculous
    situations)
•   Antithesis
•   Elevated diction/jargon
•   Double entendre
•   Hyperbolic overstatement/exaggeration
•   Comparison/analogy
•   Contrived diction/ ridiculous examples
                Verbal Irony
Discuss: What is verbal irony?

Example: “These shows feature scintillating shots
  of trucks being unloaded, sewing machines
  humming along and paint rollers being pushed
  up and down walls”.

Discuss: Explain the verbal irony in the previous
  quotation. How does it add to the satirical tone of
  the piece?
              Euphemism
Discuss: What is euphemism?

Example: “sexually ambiguous young male
 designers”

Discuss: Explain the euphemism. How does
  it add to the satirical tone of the piece?
                  Parody
Discuss: What is parody?

Example: “PIMP MY TAX RETURN!” Teams
 of comely accountants trick out your1099
 with chrome loopholes”.

Discuss: Explain this example of parody and
  discuss how it adds to the satirical quality
  of the piece.
               Juxtaposition
Discuss: What is juxtaposition?

Example: ‘“GUESS MY TRANSPLANT!” Each
  contestant has a major organ transplant, and
  friends and family have to guess which one”.

Discuss: Explain what two things are juxtaposed
  and how it adds to the satirical quality of this
  piece.
                  Antithesis
Discuss: What is antithesis?

Example: “One would think shows like this would
  be as boring as watching paint dry since they
  sometimes consist of watching paint dry. But
  viewers are enthralled!”

Discuss: Explain this antithesis and discuss how it
  adds to the satirical quality of the piece.
      Elevated diction/jargon
Discuss: What is “elevated” diction?

Examples: “begat”, “dictum”, “detritus”.

Discuss: Why does the writer include
  elevated diction? How does it add to the
  satirical aspect of the piece?
          Double entendre
Discuss: Define “double entendre”.

Example: “watching paint dry”

Discuss: Explain the dual meaning of the
  phrase and how it contributes to the
  satirical tone of the passage.
      Hyperbolic Overstatement/
            Exaggeration
Discuss: What is hyperbole and exaggeration?
  Give your own example.

Example: “ the sort of den to wash away care and
  herald the coming of paradise on earth”.

Discuss: What does this hyperbolic statement
  allude to and how does it contribute to the
  satirical tone of the piece?
         Comparison/Analogy
Discuss: Typically, what is the purpose of a
  comparison or analogy?

Example: “”they transform a once normal if
  unremarkable room into the interior design
  equivalent of the old Funkadelic concert
  costumes”.
Discuss: What is the purpose of this analogy? How
  does it add to the satirical tone of the piece?
Funkadelic!!!!
 Contrived diction/ ridiculous examples

Ø Find a made-up word or ridiculous
  situation in the article.
Ø “…who descend upon bland suburban rec
  rooms, closets and garages while the
  owner is away or in a coma.”
Ø What makes this situation “ridiculous”? Are
  there any other examples in the article?
              Why Satire?
Now that you know the elements of satire,
 what do you think makes satire effective?
 Why do writers use satire instead of
 criticizing the person, group or institution
 directly?
               Your Turn
Read the article from The Onion and find
 examples of satirical devices. Then, write
 a Reading Response responding to the
 2005 AP prompt.

				
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posted:7/29/2013
language:English
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