Satire: a genre that ridicules vice or folly. Parody

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Satire Unit

Satire: A genre that ridicules vice or folly.

Parody: A type of satire that imitates or mocks an original work, its genre, its author, or its subject.

Tools of Satire + (Super Nerd Terms)

1. Understatement (meiosis, litotes)
2. Overstatement (auxesis, hyperbole)
3. Mimicry
4. Irony

A Few Familiar Examples:

The Daily Show The Canterbury Tales Family Guy Borat

The Colbert Report Animal Farm The Simpsons “Weird Al” Yankovic

The Onion Catch-22 The Office South Park

British Literature Readings:
* Swift’s A Modest ProposalOriginally published in 1729 as a pamphlet (a kind of essay in an unbound booklet). At this time, and for many years afterward, Ireland was far poorer than England. Swift presents a scathing critique of the upper class with a shocking proposal.
* Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels– Parody of “Traveller’s Tales” genre and a satire of British institutions and certain elements of human nature.
* Pope’s The Rape of the Lock – A parody of the epic genre, called a mock epic. It utilizes epic conventions to present an insignificant subject. The outcome is an outrageous divide between the matter and the manner of expression.



Washington, D.C. ( — A delegation of American high school students today demanded the United States stop waging war in obscure nations such as Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and instead attack places they've actually heard of, such as France, Australia, and Austria, unless, they said, those last two are the same country.

"People claim we don't know as much geography as our parents and grandparents, but it's so not our fault," Josh Beldoni, a senior at Fischer High School in Los Angeles, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Back then they only had wars in, like, Germany and England, but we're supposed to know about places like Somalia and Massachusetts."

"Macedonia," corrected committee Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan.

"See?" said Beldoni.

Beldoni's frustration was shared by nearly three dozen students at the hearing, who blamed the U.S. military for making them look bad.

"I totally support our soldiers and all that, but I am seriously failing both geography and social studies because I keep getting asked to find Croatia or Yemvrekia, or whatever bizarre-o country we send troops to," said Amelia Nash, a junior at Clark High School in Orlando, Fla. "Can't we fight in, like, Italy? It's boot-shaped."

Chairman Levin however, explained that Italy was a U.S. ally, and that intervention is usually in response to a specific threat.

"OK, what about Arulco?" interrupted Tyler Boone, a senior at Bellevue High School in Wisconsin. "That's a country in Jagged Alliance 2 run by the evil Queen Deidranna. I'm totally familiar with that place. She's a major threat."

"Jagged...?" said Levin.

"Alliance. It's a computer game."

"Well, no," Levin answered. "We can't attack a fictional country."

"Yeah right," Boone mumbled. "Like Grenada was real."

The students' testimony was supported by a cross-section of high school geography teachers, who urged the committee to help lay a solid foundation for America's young people by curtailing any intervention abroad.

"Since the anti-terror war began, most of my students can now point to Afghanistan on a map, which is fine, but those same kids still don't know the capitals of Nevada and Ohio," said Richard Gerber, who teaches at Rhymony High School in Atlanta. "I think we need to cut back on our activities overseas and take care of business at home, and if that means invading Tallahassee (Fla.) or Trenton (N.J.) so that students learn where they are, so be it."

The hearing adjourned after six hours. An estimated 2,000 more students were expected to hold a march in the nation's capital, but forgot which city it was in.

Questions after Reading Article


Is it satire?

If yes, what folly (foolishness) or vice (serious flaw) is being ridiculed? Are there several follies or vices ridiculed?

Satirical Cartoon Study – THE DANGER OF SATIRE

This image drew considerable backlash after it was published.

  1. Note a few things that people might have been upset with.

  1. Who (or what) do you think this satirical cartoon was intended to ridicule?

  1. Read this comment:

"Our cover 'The Politics of Fear' combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are. The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall -- all of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to the absurd.”

Gulliver’s Travels

Dr. Seuss’ The Butter Battle Book

Fictional Setting and Types of People Involved

Fictional Tension/Conflict

True” Deeper Setting that Audience Should Pick Up On

True” Deeper Conflict that Audience Should Pick Up On

Connecting Gulliver’s Travels – Day 2

Pope and The Mock Epic – Day 3

Epic Convention

Lines in Poem

Trivial Activity Described

Invocation of the Muse

Elevated Language

Epic Similes

A “Brave” Hero

A Perilous Journey/War

Appeals to Gods

Allegedly Pope, a friend of two feuding families, wrote The Rape of the Lock to highlight the absurdity of their feud. He describes the trivial (subject matter) in inflated, epic form (manner of expression) to create a ridiculous product.
Antithesis = the use of parallel grammatical structure to oppose two words.

Parallelism = the use of parallel grammatical structure for rhetorical effect.


Mock Epic Assignment: Due ________
Kris’ Epic Quest
Sing in me, Heavenly Muse, of the loss

Of Kim who partied as if tempest-tossed.

A husband she had lately, Kris his name,

Though heroic he stood, he lusted fame,

And found Kardashian a wild splendor.

Love fades as Cupid falters, and renders

Lovers as Ares, Mars, or John and Kate

Broken, tart, fallen from wonderful grace.

So Kris sets off, lovely dame to pursue,

To find a pocket to pick, his heart’s glue!

he Good

"Let Wreaths of Garlands Now Your

Temple Twine!"
1. At least 10 lines of rhyming couplets

2. Story line and some character development

4. At least 2 classical allusions

5. Good use of elevated language

6. Appropriate, consistent tone

7. Very few surface errors

8. Several epic conventions

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