The Icebreaker

8 August 2016

Through previous centuries to present day, literature has contained numerous literary devices in works to create an alternate meaning. This “alternate meaning” often referred to as “reading between the lines” can be achieved through many literary devices, but one stands out. Satire, the Oxford Dictionary refers to satire as use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

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Politicians will use satire in debates to tastefully jab at their opponent without being labeled a profane word. Essentially, satire can let someone openly ridicule without the threat of someone getting legitimately angry. The use of satire can create a more comfortable enhancement to a novel or conversation that may seem stiff, by “reading between the lines” one will find the “alternate meaning” comical in most cases.

Satire, most often accompanied by humor and mockery can also be found in everyday life through different arguments, debates and etc. Often found in poetry and lyricism, the use of satire can create hysterical tones and express true feelings of the poet or writer. Earliest recorded between 100-200 B. C. in Roman literature, satire became more prevalently used in modern literature when comical inappropriateness became socially acceptable. Satire can sometimes be dark and comical all at once.

In Anne Sexton’s “Cinderella” Sexton mocks and criticizes the average fairytale people are accustomed to. Rather than slightly twisting the well-known fairytale Sexton chose to start with criticizing the average fairytale. By openly mocking and scorning all common fairytales within the first four stanzas Sexton had already set the tone as satirical. In further depths of understanding, Sextons jeered writing style creates the sense of someone speaking in average conversational tone which in turn creates a relaxed mood to the poem.

In the first stanza Sexton begins with “You always read about it” which created a union between the mockery and comical aspects. Then, as an addition to the union created, Sexton finishes the first stanza with “That story. ” which added comical relief to the somewhat somber tone of Sextons twist on the fairytale. The relaxed approach to the tale created more comical aspects than the ever-so average build up, climax, downfall that is associated with most fairytales like Cinderella.

In retrospect, Anne Sexton’s “Cinderella” pokes fun at the institution of marriage and fairytales as a whole, by using satire as shown in every stanza throughout the poem starting with “You always read about… From toilets to riches. That story. ” A reader can easily pick up the mockeries and satirical aspects which are portrayed. The use of satire can most commonly be portrayed though some narrative of some sort which is well-known, so that the reader will know it’s satirical immediately after beginning reading.

Another use of satire can be found in music, a number of songs and albums have satirical aspects. “Pray for You” by Jaron and the Long Road to Love has numerous satirical characteristics. The song was meant to be taken literally, about a failed relationship. The artist starts the song by singing a story about asking a pastor what he should do and the pastor tells him to “pray for those who have done wrong to you”. He sings of praying for her, but not praying for the way the pastor wanted him to.

The chorus lyrics are “I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill/ I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I’d like to/ I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls/ I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls/ I pray all your dreams never come true/ Just know wherever you are honey, I pray for you” The use of satire can be labeled the main component of this song, “pray for those who have done wrong to you” and as told he begins to “pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill” this prime example of satire because he is praying, but in a taboo way rather than the orthodox prayers most are accustomed to. Through being sarcastic throughout the entity song, the listener grasps the droll as well as sarcastic/satirical aspects of it and in turn relates to the song. A second example of lyrical satire would be the song “White and Nerdy” by Weird Al Yankovic, which happens to be a parody of the song “Ridin Dirty” by Chamillionaire.

Parodies are examples of satire because the parodied songs sound identical but the words are exchanged with comical opposites to make the song sarcastic or satirical. The beginning lyrics of the original Chamillionaire song are “They see me rollin/They hatin/Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty/Tryin to catch me ridin dirty” while “Weird Al’s” lyrics are “They see me mowin’/My front lawn/I know they’re all thinking/I’m so White N’ nerdy” He is portraying the average pre-judgment of Caucasians and the nerdy aspects they possess in a jocular and facetious tone. The songs sound similar except one is mocking the other which creates a sense of humor and irony which are characteristics of satire.

The song was not meant to be taken seriously just as any use of satire, the song’s purpose was comedy. Humor was the objective of the lyricism rather than a sincere tone. As seen in his “nerdy” lyrics “”Happy Days” is my favorite theme song/I can sure kick your butt in a game of ping pong/I’ll ace any trivia quiz you bring on/I’m fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon” With the divergent lyrics of the parody, “Weird Al” put an eccentric and peculiarly odd additive to his parody through the use of humor in satire. In conclusiveness, satire is used to scorn, ridicule or make impractical for the purpose of comedic afflictions in essays, lyricism, novels and other literary works to generate a jocose tone.

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