Satire is definitely writing that ridicules or holds up to contempt the faults of individuals or a society. To deliver his message, a satirist may use either a sympathetic tone or an angry, bitter tone, and he may use different genres as the medium for his satire. And, although a satire is...
Satire is definitely writing that ridicules or holds up to contempt the faults of individuals or a society. To deliver his message, a satirist may use either a sympathetic tone or an angry, bitter tone, and he may use different genres as the medium for his satire. And, although a satire is often humorous--sometimes it is what is called black comedy--its purpose is serious.
For instance, after World War II, American author Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22, a satirical novel which has some ludicrous scenes such as he opening one in which a pilot is completely encassed with tubes flowing in and out of each end of his body cast. Periodically, a nurse comes and without a word, switches the tubes, recycling the fluids. Of course, one of the most outrageous satires is that of Jonathan Swift, His essay, "A Modest Proposal," immodestly suggests that the British eat the Irish babies since they were consuming them figuratively. Several times Swift had tried to get the attention of the British parliament about the penurious state of the Irish, but to no avail. So, when he proposed that the children of the poor be sold and eaten, he achieved the goal of satire.
In another instance, authors satirize a philosophy such as Voltaire's Candide which ridicules the philosophy of optimism as promulgated by Gottfried Leibniz. In his novel, Candide and other characters experience imprisonment, disfigurement, and horrific hardships, but the mouthpiece of Leibniz, Dr. Pangloss contends that "all is for the best."
Of course, an important ingredient of satire is irony, the contrast between what is said and what is meant. For example, in Gulliver's Travels when Gulliver says that his "color came and went serveral times, with indignation to hear our noble country...the seat of virtue, piety, honor...the pride and envy of the world, so contemptuously treated, Swift is clearly being ironic.