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What is Satire

Define and understand satire and how it is used in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Lisa Maher

on 19 November 2014

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Transcript of What is Satire

What is Satire?
Tools of the Satirist: 2
Types of Satire
Tools of the Satirist: 1
"First make people laugh, and then make them think" - The Ig Nobel Prize: satire on trivial scientific research
Why use satire?
Named for the Roman satirist, Horace, this playfully criticizes some social vice through gentle, mild, and light-hearted humor It directs wit, exaggeration, and self-deprecating humor toward what it identifies as folly, rather than evil. Horatian satire's sympathetic tone is common in modern society.
Named after the Roman satirist Juvenal, this type of satire is more contemptuous and abrasive than the Horatian. Juvenalian satire addresses social evil through scorn, outrage, and savage ridicule. This form is often pessimistic, characterized by irony, sarcasm, moral indignation and personal invective, with less emphasis on humor. Strongly polarized political satire is often Juvenalian.
Situational: when one result is expected but the opposite is what actually happens:
Verbal: saying one thing but meaning the opposite, ex: sarcasm
Dramatic: when the audience or reader knows something the characters do not
saying less than what is actually true
Litotes (uses opposite: not a bad singer, not unattractive)
When you mock people you also make them think. Satire is often used as a tool to encourage social change. It is never the weak or abused party who is made fun of; those in power are the ones who are mocked.
Examples of Satire:
Addresses audience and openly criticizes the topic
Relies on ridiculous behaviors of characters
1. Those who already agree with the author (those on your side)
2. Those who are being ridiculed for their opposing viewpoint
3. Those who may be persuaded through exposure to the satirical work
(the "swing" audience)
Who is the audience?
Satire is the ridicule of problems, failures or abuses with intent to bring about change
Moral outrage is at the core
Writing aims to condemn, warn, or heal
Is often humorous by using wit as a weapon
Yet, in all this, the author remains detached
Tools of the Satirist: 3
Parody - think Weird Al, The Lonely Island Boys, Space Balls, Scary Movie 1 - 27
Using expressions from particular group or field
localized slang
Humorous Techniques/Devices



Use current events or topics
Audiences need to understand references
Build suspense, then drop punchline
To present things that are out of place or are absurd in relation to its surroundings. Particular techniques include oxymoron, metaphor, and irony.
Format of Satire
Satire comes in many, many formats:
Article: think The Onion or A Modest Proposal, or half of the "news" articles you see on Facebook
Video: again, this could be a faux news report, whole show could be satirical like The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, Family Guy. Or, show could have elements of satire, like Modern Family
Story/Fiction: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Science/Distopian Fiction: Hunger Games, Fahrenheit 451, Divergent, 1984
Music: Gangnam Style
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