Stephen Leasock's "Arcadian Adventures With the Idle Rich": Satire
Jonathan Swift has suggested that "Satire is a sort of Glass, wherein Beholders do generally discover every body's Face their own; which is the chief reason...that so few are offended with it." Richard Garnett suggests that, "Without humour, satire is invictive; without literary form, [and] it is mere clownish jeering." (Encyclopaedia Britannica 14th ed. vol. 20 p. 5). Whereas Swift's statement suggests that people are not offended by satire because readers identify the character's faults with their own faults; Garnett suggests that humour is the key element that does not make satire offensive. With any satire someone is bound to be offended, but the technique the author uses can change something offensive into something embarrassing.
Stephen Leacock's Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich is a nonthreatening, humorous, and revealing satire of the moral faults of upper class society. The satire acts as a moral instrument to expose the effect money can have on religion, government, and anything within its touch. Writing about such topics is hard to do without offending people. Leacock's technique combines money with humour, and accompanies his moral message with ironic characters; their exaggerated actions, and a constant comical tone to prevent readers from being offended.
Leacock's utopian world is filled with humorous labels that represent the "Plutonian's" personalities. "Ourselves Monthly"; a magazine for the modern self-centered, is a Plutonian favourite. To fill their idle days, the Plutonian women are in an endless search for trends in literature and religion. Without the distractions of club luncheons and trying to achieve the "Higher Indifference", the women would have to do something productive. Readers that identify themselves with the class of people the Plutonians represent would be embarrassed rather than offended by Leacock's satirical portrayal of them....
Cited: Garnett, Richard. Encyclopedia Brtannica, 14th ed. Chicago: Encyclopedia
Britannica, Inc., 1959.
Leacock, Stephen. Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich. Toronto: McClelland
and Stewart Limited, 1989.
Allen and Stephens. Satire, Theory and Practice. ed. Allen and Stephens. Belmont,
California: Wadsworth Publishing Company,Inc., 1962.
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