Steven Harp
Professor Hendricks
English 1102
25 January 2010
Humor, Satire, Irony, and Parody
Every composition that I have read for this assignment observes or has proposed a certain lyrical poet of humor. There are types of humor which differentiates from one another including satire, irony, and parody. Humor can be defined as a message that conveys laughter or the power to evoke ones senses of emotional and physical state of happiness. The literacy devices of satire, irony, and parody are often used in many poems and drama, such as ???Mr. Z??? by M. Carl Holman, ???My Mistress??™ Eyes are nothing like the Sun??? by William Shakespeare, ???The Secretary Chant??? by Marge Piercy, and Old Saybrook_ _by Woody Allen.
???Mr. Z??? by M. Carl Holman is considered to be an Irony because of the rich subtext that indicates ???contradictory statements or situations to reveal a reality different from what appears to be true??? (Meyer). Irony can also be referred as sarcasm. The poem itself explains how the character of ???Mr. Z??? considers ???that his mother??™s skin was the sign of error??? (Holman). The character then tries to act different throughout his whole life, erasing every sign of his heritage in order to become someone else. He changes his diet, ???chose prudent, raceless views for each situation??? (Holman), and married a blue eyed Episcopalian. The last line provides the evidence of the irony usage within the context by telling the readers that eventually everything caught up to him at the end and that he was ???the most distinguished members of his race??? (Holman).
???My Mistress??™ Eyes are nothing like the Sun??? by William Shakespeare is thought out to be a Satire because of its ???art of ridiculing a folly or vice in order to expose or correct it. The object of satire is usually some human frailty; people, institutions, ides, and things??? (Meyer). Throughout the poem, Shakespeare continually mentions the mistress??™ flaws such as ???the breath with which my mistress reeks??? (Shakespeare). Shakespeare??™s commentaries sound negative, he means every word of it, but accepts his mistress??™ imperfections. There is a positive motive to Shakespeare??™s words which creates the imagery of satire to fool us all into believing he really does mean the negative comments about his mistress. After reading the poem, the last lines imply the satire by mentioning that ???by heaven, I think my love as rare, as any she belied with false compare??? (Shakespeare).
???The Secretary Chant??? by Marge Piercy indicates that it is an irony as well as the first poem by M. Carl Holman. Irony as stated previously can be referred to as sarcasm. This poem is very ironic, considering the vivid descriptions the author gives the reader with the high usage of metaphors shown to compare the character to what she feel she might be. The poem in its entirety reveals irony such as ???I am about to be delivered of a baby Xerox machine??? (Piercy). The author tells us that the character is consumed by her work and everything she does or says she compares to work. The irony is that she is being sarcastic about everything that she goes through and that she lost herself, though she ???wonce was a woman??? (Piercy). The author spells the word ???once??? as ???wonce??? because the character believes that she should be filed under W for ???woman.??? The character not only feels consumed by work, but she is work itself! The descriptions the author gives for the character who reveals her body like ???a desk??? or that she has ???rubber bands??? forming in her hair.
Old Saybrook_ _by Woody Allen is a bit of everything. It contains Irony, Parody, and Satire. It is every type of humor because of its lengthy, detailed, and un-natural course of events. A parody is ???a humorous imitation of another, usually serious, work. It can take any fixed or open form, because parodists??™ imitate the tone, language, and shape of the original in order to deflate the subject matter, making the original work seem absurd??? (Meyer). The author makes this play a parody because it imitates life and marriage itself. It imitates life and distorts it into something comical so that the reader can enjoy the writing more although the matter of the story is actually serious. An example of such parody would be that David mentions ???that one day we all must grow old and decay. That??™s the message in all of nature??? and Jenny, his wife, mentions that ???that??™s easy for him to say, he??™s a plastic surgeon and that message is on his business card??? (Allen.) Those quotes from the play imply that a plastic surgeon can operate on anyone making them prettier and younger, but that one day everyone must grow old, but as a plastic surgeon he would say that and ???fix you up.??? Irony, as mentioned before, deals with sarcasm. An example of irony would be when Sheila says ???that??™s right. Who am I to judge others and throw away years of closeness and love because my husband the dentist was drilling my sister??? (Allen.) This line is full of irony because she is being sarcastic about staying close to those who hurt her in the first place. The last of the devices is satire. The story is quite serious, but makes fun of things that are not supposed to be funny in the first place such as cheating on each other. The story entirely is a satire as well as mostly an irony.
Throughout the selections that were read, they all had different type of humors. In the selections satire, parody, and irony were mentioned and defined throughout the various authors, Woody Allen, Hollman, Piercy, and Shakespeare. Humor can range from any literary writing and result in a humorous smile.
Work Cited
Meyer, Michael. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature 8th Edition
Allen, Woody. Old Saybrook 1327-1342
Holman, Carl. ???Mr. Z??™ 992
Piercy, Marge ???The Secretary Chant??? 570
Shakespeare, William ???My Mistress??™ Eyes are nothing like the Sun??? 779
Glossary of Literary Terms. Irony, Parody, Satire 1629, 1634, 1638
???Word search:Humor??? WordNet Search. Web. 23Jab. 2010


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