Satire It is a genre of COMEDY that is directed at ridiculing human foibles and vices, such as vanity, hypocrisy, stupidity, and greed. It differs from pure comedy in that the aim is not simply to evoke laughter, but to expose and censure such faults, often with the aim of correcting them. The target of the satire may vary.
Another definition A writing designed to make readers criticize themselves, society, human foolishness and weakness, human vices and crimes, or anything the writer is dissatisfied about in general in an attempt to bring about some sort of change.
Satires can target an individual In some works, it is a particular individual, as in a Simpson’s episode - it is directed at a contemporary president, George Bush, whom Matt Goering depicts as too strict and up-tight.
Satires can target a group or set of people. An example of this is the satire against the members of the American military establishment in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 (1961). A satire against an institution, such as totalitarianism in George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1946).
Satires can even aim at the whole of humanity For example, Book IV of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). That section of the novel is set on an imaginary island, which is inhabited by two radically opposed species: the brutish Yahoos, who have the outward form of human beings, and their masters, the Houyhnhnms, talking horses who embody the humane intelligence that the Yahoos entirely lack.
Direct Satire also called formal satire In direct satire, the FIREST-PERSON NARRATOR addresses a specific audience. either the reader or an invented listener, whom he or she expects will sympathize with the views expressed. Direct satire is the oldest and, historically, most common form of satiric writing.
Comedians like direct satire Because explicit satire is more efficient, it is the kind most likely to be presented by comedians.
Indirect satire Indirect satire or informal satire, the usual mode of ridicule in stories, poems, plays or novels, is not cast in the form of a direct address to the audience. Rather, the indictment of the character’s vices and lies is implied by simply representing their thoughts and actions. Sometimes that presentation is helped by the commentary of an INTRUSIVE THIRD-PERSON NARRATOR.
Turn to your partner and analyze the satire in this poem. By the time you swear you’re his, Shivering and sighing, And he vows his passion is Infinite, undying— Lady, make a note of this; One of you is lying. -Dorothy Parker, “Unfortunate Coincidence”
Two types of Satire Although satire began with the plays of Aristophanes, the main founders of the form were two Roman poets, Horace (65-68 B.C.E.) and Juvenal (c. 65 –c. 135 C.E.). Each wrote a distinctive type of satire that has given its name to and inspired the two major categories of subsequent satiric works.
Horatian Satire is gentle Gentle and humorous satire is called “Horatian Satire ” after the writing style of the Roman poet Horace. Horatian satire is tolerant and urbane, indulgently mocking faults with the aim of evoking wry amusement rather than repulsion or indignation in the audience Characterized by playful mockery, a conversational and often gently instructive tone, and easily accessible language
Horatian Satire Horatian satire places more emphasis on the comedic aspects, but this does not mean that it can not incorporate biting social commentary; quite the opposite, in fact. The Horatian technique employs subtlety instead of resorting to a direct attack, prompting some to accuse the Horatian tone of an excess of tolerance.
Mark Twain used Horatian Satire throughout Huckleberry Finn " Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever.” “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”
Example of Mrs. Watson “And she took snuff, too; of course that was all right because she done it herself.” Turn to your partner, who or what is Twain satirizing?
Another example The idea of Emmeline keeping a scrapbook filled with “obituaries and accidents and cases of patient suffering” is not what a normal girl her age would do. Here Twain pokes fun at the preoccupation with death in the mawkish drawings and bathetic verse of an adolescent would-be poet.
More examples Lois Lowry’s prize-winning children’s book The Giver is of Horatian Satire, as is George Orwell’s Animal Farm. These books both have anti- totalitarian messages. But because Animal Farm comes closer to being Horatian satire with its nostalgic barnyard and its “lovable” set of farm animals, when it was first submitted to American publishers they missed the point and turned it down saying the prospective market for “animal stories” was too small.
Juvenalian satire is harsh It is censorious, bitterly condemning vices and foibles and inciting the audience to feelings of indignation and even disgust. An example is Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, an acerbic denunciation of the injustices of slavery.
Juvenalian satire Characterized by biting sarcasm, bitter irony, moral indignation, pessimism, and an antagonistic tone. The object of Juvenalian satire is most often a specific person or social institution (as opposed to satirizing human folly in general), sometimes thinly cloaked in the guise of fiction or allegory. The Juvenalian satirist treads a fine line between satire and tirade. When successful, Juvenalian satire is a witty, clever condemnation of humanity's flaws. When unsuccessful, it resembles an extended whine that may prompt the reader to wonder what crawled up the author's rear and died.
Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” if the most famous Juvevalian satire. In this satire, Swift denounces the exploitation of Catholic peasants in his native Ireland by absentee British landlords, who were indifferent to the suffering they were causing and who were abetted by the apathy of the British Parliament and monarchy.
You will never forget it Few people who read Swift’s “Modest Proposal” ever forget it. Because it touches such deep psychic nerves, it illustrates the satirist’s major tool, which is playing with the emotions of readers or listeners.
The satirist often assumes the persona of the unblemished, morally superior critic who is beyond reproach, and as such, is uniquely qualified to deliver a crushing blow to whatever target happens to draw his or her ire.
Range of Satire Continuum HORATIAN...................JUVENALIAN (gentle) (bitter) ATTACK – DIRECT................... INDIRECT (little or no ironic diction)(much ironic diction) TARGET - TOPICAL................... UNIVERSAL (short-lived, current)(long-lived)
20 25 RANGE OF SATIRE Satire has a long history and occurs across genres ranging from Aesop’s fables and Shel Silverstein’s poetry to Art Buchwald’s newspaper columns and Paul Krassner’s newsletter The Realist. It also includes political and social cartoons, such television programs as late-night talk shows and The Colbert Report, such movies as Wag the Dog and The Truman Show, and such novels as C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
Questions to ask when considering a satire: Who or what is the target? What weapon (comedy technique) is being used? Who might not understand this satire and why? Who might be offended by this satire?