To persuade a reader that satire is a valuable form of literature, first define what is “valuable” to a reader. It could be an enjoyable reading experience, a lesson from literature that can affect the reader’s own life, or a combination of the two. Satire uses humor to comment on an idea or situation. It lets the reader have a good time and think critically about current events or popular beliefs. It covers both aspects of a “valuable” experience.
When selecting examples from these stories, start with the parts that made you laugh. Explain why those parts might be funny to you or to another reader. The use of irony and sarcasm, saying or reading the opposite of what we think or mean, makes people laugh. Does this technique make for a more interesting story? Does it let the reader think about what the authors are mocking? These humorous sections draw in the reader so the writer can make a deeper point. For example, how does Saki describe Miss Mebbin’s reaction upon seeing the tiger? What does the author point out that actually makes Mebbin nervous? Is that the reaction that most people would have if they saw a tiger? What does this say about Miss Mebbin or people who think like her?
A funny phrase can also indicate that Thurber or Saki are making a satirical point. For example, think about Jack Smurch’s voice in “The Greatest Man In The World.” Does Thurber make the character sound like a person many people should admire? Does Smurch talk about important things, provide wise words, or even speak clearly? Consider people’s reactions to Smurch in the book, and then think about how he sounds to you. What is Thurber trying to say about hero worship?