Module C: Satire Part A: Discussion Essay: “While the satirist makes us laugh, the main objective of the satirist is to cause us, by the use of various techniques, to reflect on ourselves as humans. In reflecting upon ourselves we learn important lessons about people, about issues confronting society and about life in general. ” Question: In an essay of about 1800-2000 words, demonstrate the truth of this quotation by referring to George Orwell’s Animal Farm and two related texts of your own choosing.
Satire is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, and other satirical techniques, to expose, criticize and ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself. Humour is used to analyse issues, events, people or organisations and to show their flaws and weaknesses. This can be seen in the quote “While the satirist makes us laugh, the main objective of the satirist is to cause us, by the use of various techniques, to reflect on ourselves as humans. In reflecting upon ourselves, we learn important lessons about people, about issues confronting society and about life in general”.
It simply states that the use of satire is effective in portraying our life and influences us to reflect on our lives and how we perceive society. Some great examples of satire that have in fact made us ponder about societies issues and life itself is: a book named “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, an episode from the popular animated TV sitcom the Simpsons – titled “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish”, and a satirical article from ‘The Onion’ called “HP Unveils Non-Computer For Those Who Don’t Need A Computer”.
All these texts include some aspects of humour, through the use of a vast range of different satirical techniques. By doing this, we view the issue and its true meaning and how it relates to our lives and the society we live in. The first text, Animal Farm, written by George Orwell, is a well known novel. It is known for its effective use of satire in portraying the story of the Russian Revolution. One of the satirical techniques that were used is irony. The story started out with a common belief that all animals are equal and should earn and work the same amount.
This was called animalism (symbolises communism), however over time, things changed and the values of Napoleon (who symbolises Joseph Stalin) differed from the rest of the farm. His morals and values had changed and the whole idea of animalism eventually is altered to suit the needs of the pigs rather than the needs of all animals, which is ironic, in saying that putting oneself is the exact opposite to the whole idea of animalism. His change can be seen in the difference between some of the laws that were established at the beginning of the novel and how they ended up near the end of the novel.
For example one of the laws that was agreed by all was “No animal shall sleep in a bed”. This was ultimately changed into “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets”. Eventually all the seven laws are replaced with “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, and “Four legs good, two legs better! ” as the pigs become more human. This irony throughout the book enables the reader to see Joseph Stalin’s, and the whole communism ideal, flaws and mistakes in a new fashion.
This supports the quote in saying that the use of irony as a satirical technique is effective in making the reader reflect about issues confronting society and about life in general. Another effective satirical technique used in Animal Farm is that the whole book is an Allegory for the Russian Revolution. Each character in the novel symbolises a key significant figure that was part of the communism movement. These include Old Major as being Karl Marx (creator of communism), who came up with the idea of animalism.
Also the events in the novel, such as the Battle of the Cowshed represent the allied invasion of the Soviet Russia in 1918, and the defeat of the White Russians in the Russian Civil War. The use of an Allegory helped to give literal and deeper meaning to the novel. The animal characters portray all the worst traits of human nature which include: greed, lust for power, pride, gluttony, mercilessness, treachery, and hypocrisy. This supports the quote in which the satire influenced the reader to reflect on there lives and see the resemblance of Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution.
The third technique used in Animal farm that effectively uses satire to make the reader ponder there life and society is anthropomorphism. This is evident in the text, by the obvious human characteristics that the animals share with each other. The fact that the animals can talk to each other and speak to humans is an example of this satirical technique. Also the activities that they perform everyday such as drinking alcohol and sleeping in beds, also adds to their human qualities. George Orwell decided to use this technique in order to show that the animals were very similar to humans, which is considered to be bad.
This technique helps us identify human personalities and allows the reader to analyse it and the way they treat others and their place in society. This supports the quote and how satire helps a human reflect on life a society. The next text that is connected to the quote and has a wide range of satirical techniques is episode 4 seasons 2 of the Simpsons sitcom – titled “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish” (1990). This episode satirizes both politics and the environment through the plot and hidden messages throughout the episode. One of the techniques used to do this is Ridicule.
The title itself is a reference to the Herbert Hoover’s Great Depression-era campaign slogan, “A car in every garage and two chickens in every pot”. This mockery is very humorous as it interprets the storyline into the title of a political event in history using wit. The whole time, ridicule is included and is a superb example of political satire, demonstrating the lengths people will go to to win votes. This is evident when Mr Burns, hires a team of associates to boost his popularity and destroy the current governors’ reputation, in order to win the seat he so desperately desires.
There means of doing this are no doubt ably not the right way of doing it, but it shows how far politicians will go to be elected. Also, it criticizes and mocks the current environmental status of the world. The nuclear waste and its effect on nature are quite evident as it causes a fish to mutate. The mutation causes a fish to have three eyes. The episode “explicitly criticizes media spin-doctors who distort the impacts of ecological degradation caused by wealthy corporations such as the nuclear power plant. ” (“The Simpsons” Enviropop: Studies in Environmental Rhetoric and Popular Culture).
In other words, this exaggeration (another satirical technique sometimes referred to as hyperboles) was used to show that the pressing issues in society back then weren’t being addressed and just being covered up with the help of money – A. K. A Bribing. This brings the essay question back into the equation. Through the use of humour, political issues and environmental issues that are concerning society, are brought up and reflected on, meaning it is successfully fulfilling the main objective of the satirist, which is to learn important lessons about people, about issues confronting society and about life in general.
Another useful technique used in this Simpson episode, that has some sort of relationship in the audiences life and the society they live in is the use of ‘sarcasm’. The use of sarcasm can be very valuable in identifying the attitude and personality of a character towards a certain someone or something. In this case, Mr Burns’s sarcastic response towards one of his associates who had pointed out that he was loosing touch with the common man shows that he does not care what so ever for anyone besides himself. This realisation of selfishness allows the audience to consider not only politicians in their society but their lives as well.
This specific example brings up the issue of self gain and delves into the fact of weather or not it is a good thing or a bad thing. This agrees with the quote as a reflection of ones life and society is taking place due to the satire and the various techniques used within it. The third and technique used to satirize politics is the use of a parody. The plot of this episode was very much influenced by the 1941 movie, Citizen Kane. Some of the references from the movie, that were mentioned in the episode include: • Bart asking Homer “Is your boss Governor yet? references the little boy from the film asking “Is Pop Governor yet”? • Burns gives a speech standing in front of a gigantic poster of himself, references Orson Welles in the movie giving a speech in front of a larger-than-life poster of his face. • Burns yelling “You cannot do this to me! I am Charles Montgomery Burns! ” is reference to the infamous line in the film “You can’t do this to me! I am Charles Foster Kane”! These references were used to establish humour. This episode was a satirical imitation of the serious work titled Citizen Kane.
This allowed to easily bring up serious and concerning issue in society like politics and the environment without trouble. LINK The next satirical text is an article that adds humour and yet still accomplishes a satire’s main objective; of the audience reflecting to themselves about their lives and society. The article is from ‘The Onion’ which is a group who devote themselves to making many humorous, satirical texts and videos. They released an article about a “computer” that isn’t a computer at all. It just does not compute. No hardware, no circuits, no software, keyboard or mouse; just a piece of equipment.
The author is successfully making fun of the fact that the public these days will pretty much buy anything that is advertised to be trendy. One satirical technique in this article is a lampoon. It is defined as a sharp, often virulent satire directed against an individual or institution; a work of literature, art, or the like, ridiculing severely the character or behaviour of a person, society, etc. This is seen in the article as the author is trying to point out that society will buy anything that is on the market, even if it has no use, as long as it is supposedly trendy.
The behaviour of society acts as if the only need to buy something is to stay with the times. When reading this, one must realize that it does have some truth and appeal. The reader will reflect on their behaviour and how they buy useless junk. In doing this, the quote is again supported and the main objective of the satire is accomplished. Another technique used in this article is folly. Folly can be seen in the extract Personally, I like actual computers as opposed to things that are not computers,” Fieler said. But if I weren’t a computer user, this is just the kind of non-performing product I’d get, no question. ” This statement has a lack of understanding or sense to it. The stupidity is profound and it has great effectiveness in portraying the obvious to the audience. In relation to this quote, the article also constantly ridicules the issue. It creates comedy right through out it and can be seen in “Best of all, you never have to worry about breaking it,” Apotheker continued. “There’s no data to lose or delicate parts to worry about.
A non-computer works just as well smashed up into 50 pieces as it does right out of the box. ” It has created contemptuous laughter and ridiculed the topic. At the same time, the issue is still being brought up, and the reader will acknowledge that they probably do spend there money on useless junk to stay with the times, but they have learnt their lessons about people, issues confronting society and about life in general. ^ a b Meister, Mark; Phyllis (2002). “The Simpsons”. Enviropop: Studies in Environmental Rhetoric and Popular Culture. Japp. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 72. ISBN 9780275969288.
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