Satire Essay Examples
The power of literature begins with an author’s point of view on a specific situation in their society. A satirical author uses their feelings of ridicule and mockery to display their frustrations within the world around them. In order to expose these issues, authors present their writings that are incorporated with hidden messages and irony to connect with the audience. Satire is presented on different platforms which entails writing and through video. Therefore the most compelling form of satire an author can develop to prove a point is through the practice of irony and mockery. These satirical devices are used to exhibit problems within our society through mainstream media to reach the public. Many satirical devices are presented within an author’s satire. But one of the most powerful examples of satire is through the use of mockery. People may say that this device is used over excessively. But the reason behind this is because it is effective, which makes it the most popular. For instance, back in 1883, an unprecedented author that goes by the pen name of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) composed one of the most satirical novels of all time. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, this publication held many notable examples of mockery. The setting of this text started in Antebellum America in the small city of St. Petersburg, Missouri. The protagonist, Huck a thirteen-year-old boy, lived upon a farm accompanied by two spiritually-driven women. Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, these women were the prime examples of “proper” within this society. Etiquette and religion were the keys to be successful in life according to these women. But opposed by Huck’s visual representation of which was a messy and secular lifestyle.
The idea of religion was not of interest to Huck. But Huckleberry got in trouble for being improper then “she told him all about the bad place, and he said he wished he was there”(Twain 3). This quote symbolizes that Huck felt that he would be better in hell than heaven at this point in his life. Also, he believes that hell to any person would be more eventful and not as dull as heaven. This quote mocks the religious mandation of the time while doing this it is directed towards the stereotypical “civil” American citizen at that date and age. Trying to accentuate the thought that religion is just optional. Not only has mockery been used in world-renowned narratives but also is used in the form of videos. Such as, “Meet Your Second Wife”. This video is a satirical skit on Saturday Night Live (SNL). This performance starts off with the introduction of three “happily married men”. Then having the hostess explain the game show. Which is the same as the title. The host then calls out the second wife, evidently, it is a young child that comes out. Because of her age, she will be “seen again in twenty years” at least the contestant Bryant notably marks. This act too uses that satirical device of mockery. By ripping on the stereotype of men dating younger females. That not only is relevant in this culture but in the nation as a whole. It states a fact and also proves the point that women are not the only cougars. In order to address those specific males. Another example that uses mockery through video is displayed by the creators of Key and Peele. The video “Substitute Teacher” does a phenomenal job at demonstrating the use of mockery to make the satire of the skit effective. By starting in a stereotypical suburban, caucasian classroom. The teacher comes in and starts to explain how he has been involved in the “inner city” school district for over “twenty years”. Then to go on and butcher every individual kid’s name. The wrong pronunciations exemplify that they are ripping on how “stereotypical” black people pronounce the name of their kids. This ridiculousness is directed towards that race, also the civilians of the inner city. It is effective satire because it juxtaposes the differences between the two races and mocks the culture itself. Both written and visual representations of mockery work just as well. Along with mockery is a wide variety of other effective satirical devices. One that stands out in authors works is the use of irony. Irony is a literary technique and a rhetorical device that what is stated is to be the case, but differs from what is indeed the truth.
A sheer example of the use of irony in a satire is within the pamphlet of “A Modest Proposal”. This handout was composed by Dr. Jonathan Swift. This text was conjured during the eighteenth century of Ireland. Where the abundance of poverty was extraordinary. Swift thought of a “radical” idea to prevent the children of Ireland from being an annoyance on their elders and country. This so-called “absurd” approach to solve overpopulation was the remedy that the people did not want to hear. Stating with that children should be eaten to solve the problem. Either “stewed, roasted, baked, or broiled”(Swift 3) this is the antidote to overpopulation. His idea of fattening up kids than eating them was the ironic cure to Ireland’s situation. Swift says kids are useless till the age of six because they can’t “pick up a livelihood by stealing till they arrive”(Swift 2) to that age. This quote/idea causes one immediately to start acknowledging the harshness of such an unsympathetic empire. Then the reader notices who is speaking. Which the speaker is an Englishman speaking on the lives of Irish citizens. This leads to the irony of the piece being the dictatorship of England and the unmerciful way of dealing with poverty. Also that kids have no use in Ireland at all. The memorable author Jonathan Swift not only wrote just one of the most notable pieces of satire worldwide “A Modest Proposal” but composed another that also incorporated the satirical device use of irony. The title of this short story was named Gulliver’s Travels. This book is the story of a surgeon by the name of Lemuel Gulliver. Lemuel decides to travel the ocean. Throughout this story, Gulliver completes many voyages and journeys. But his last four journeys led him to some of the most peculiar, and weirdest terrains upon the face of the earth. Where he then identifies the ethics and blemishes within his own country by analyzing the differences between these faraway lands to his own.
Initially, Gulliver wakes up tied down by a group of “not six inches high” natives (Swift 626). This occurred in the land of Lilliput. Then continuing throughout his voyages he ends up in the lands of Brobdingnag. While visiting this location he finds himself to be “a morsel in the mouth of the first among these enormous barbarians who should happen to seize” him(Swift 637). While Gulliver appeared to be this height he then reflected upon the least of his misfortunes “for as human creatures are observed to be more savage and cruel in proportion to their bulk”(Swift 637). This quotes juxtaposes and contrasts his previous thoughts. Which develops the way irony was portrayed in this situation. He feels that before he appeared to be a person of the highest honor. To now merely just amusement. The irony in this predicament corresponds to the comparisons of people in political power to the poor. This relevance between the two relates to height. The tallest means more important while the shorter in height you are equates diminishes your stature. This relates to the diversity of the public. Irony too is not only used in written pieces but also through the use of film. Another notorious piece of satire that uses the device of irony is in another skit produced by the cast of SNL. In a video by the name of “Guns” by Saturday Night Live, that was made in 2015, addressed the issue of gun control within the United States. Gradually this film starts with a lighthearted and sentimental tone. With a demonstration of the principles of daily life. Including “family, love, a sense of purpose, and connection”. But later on in the video the device of irony gets incorporated and a mental tone shift occurs. Thus, adding the element of a gun. Stating that “they unite us, comfort us, and bring us joy”. This quote demonstrates the satirical device of irony. Switching from one end of the spectrum, demonstrating life’s values to the other end by showing that a gun is vital. This ironically rips upon the United States government’s policies on the topic of gun control which prevails within all societies throughout the nation. Meaning that this idea affects all people because everyone has different second amendment views. Also how far those views are to be expanded. Saturday Night Live successfully uses many devices of satire. One of their strong suits is irony as presented in the previous video but also in the screen title “Black Jeopardy”. Throughout this skit, SNL hits home with the use of irony.
At the beginning of the video the host presents the categories starting with “Big Girls, Mmm… I Don’t Know, You Better, I’m Gonna Pray On This, They Out Here Saying, and White People”. Tom Hanks portrays Doug a stereotypical white “make America great again” American. But stuns the crowd and the host with the ethically correct answers. But then later on as the show comes to an end the host goes to the last category “Lives That Matter” and Doug hesitated to quickly answer. This skit and quote rips upon the stereotypical black and white race. This relates to the majority of the population. Also corresponds to the complications and racial discrepancies within America’s wide variety of culture and societies. Effective because it relates to current events. Both written and visual representations of irony work just as well. To conclude, an author’s use of satire is effective through the distribution of their work on different platforms such as novels, pamphlets, and videos. Satire is one of the most effective ways to reach out to the public. If “people say satire is dead. It’s not dead; it’s alive and living in the White House” at least according to Robin Williams. This is another example of satire reaching the people. But mainly all satire is effective. To reach people through mainstream media a satirical author incorporates the devices of irony and mockery to be successful.
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