From Cannibalism to Politics: a Compartive Study of Satire

Topics: Satire, Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal Pages: 23 (7403 words) Published: January 22, 2013
From Cannibalism to Politics: A Comparative Study of Satire

Content Page
1 Introduction------------------------------------------------------------------------Page 4 1.1 Introduction
1.2 Rationale
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Thesis Statement
1.5 Methodology
1.6 Scope
1.7 Usefulness
1.8 Limitations

2 Literature Review-----------------------------------------------------------------Page 8 2.1 Introduction
2.2 Satirical Forms
2.3 Satirical Elements
2.4 Satirical Techniques
2.5 Limitations of Satire

2 Discussion and Analysis---------------------------------------------------------Page 13 3.1 Content and Context of Works
3.1.1 Satirical Content of Works
3.1.2 Dictating the Nature of Satire: Socio-Political Contexts 3.2 How Satirists Mould Satirical Intentions
3.2.1 Irony, Wit & Humour: So Covert, It’s Overt
3.2.2 The Tone of Critique
3.3 Exploring Satirical Intentions in South Park
3.3.1 Freudian Theory in South Park
3.4 Assessing the Effectiveness of the Means of Presenting Satire
3.4.1 Political Cartoons: South Park
3.4.2 The Pamphlet: A Modest Proposal

4 Conclusion----------------------------------------------------------------------------Page 28

5 References----------------------------------------------------------------------------Page 30 5.1 Primary Sources
5.2 Secondary Sources

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Background
Satire has existed since the times of the ancient Romans, with two leading figures: Juvenal and Horace, both providing well-mannered lectures on society. As time progressed, satire has evolved to become a powerful artistic medium that provides contemptuous commentary on society.

This paper seeks to explore the effectiveness of two forms of media used to convey satirical content, namely written and visual media, as well as the differences between both media. Two pieces of work will be used as a basis for comparison: South Park by Matt Stone and Trey Parker and A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. This paper will be identifying how these two works reflect societal viewpoints, as well as the limitations of each medium.

South Park has been termed as a crude, tongue-in-cheek American cartoon despite being widely acclaimed while constituting many subtle satirical undertones. While many call it crude toilet humour, it has been synonymous with criticism towards political, social and religious issues that has been increasingly common over the years. South Park generally utilizes absurdist techniques, injecting humanly impossible characters and events into the cartoon. The show effectively spoofs both extreme sides of contentious issues under a blanket of humour and vulgarities, while portraying both liberal and conservative points of view and powerfully putting across the satirists’ message, which often corresponds to what the satirists think is morally right.

Another piece of satirical work to be studied is A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift that is a satirical essay written in 1729, which suggests that the poor could possibly ease their economic burden by turning their children into commodities that can be sold as food to the rich. As a Juvenalian satire, Swift uses logic to reason his proposal and offers statistical support for his assertions to add credibility to his position, such as the stating the increasing number of infants born each year, which justifies his proposal of selling off children as commodity for the rich. In fact, the entire text is a satirical hyperbole that seeks to criticise attitudes towards the poor, as well as the policies of the ruling English Protestant aristocracy towards the Irish Catholics during the early 16th Century.

1.2 Rationale
Satire or satirical elements in various forms of works have become more familiar in today’s society. However, there is no standard perspective...
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