The Kugelmass Episode

by Woody Allen

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Research the terms satire, farce, parody, irony, spoof, and send-up. What are the differences between them? Where are these different elements found and how are they used in ‘‘The Kugelmass Episode?’’

Write a short story that satirizes a situation of your choosing. Choose two or three characters that will be familiar to your readers, exaggerate their character traits, and put them into an absurd situation that emphasizes those traits.

One of the most famous discussions of the nature of reality is Plato’s ‘‘Allegory of the Cave’’ in his philosophical treatise The Republic. Plato says that humans live in a state of ignorance and mistake the ‘‘false’’ images they see around them for the true reality of the world. Read the ‘‘Allegory’’ and write a short essay on how the ‘‘false images’’ Plato talks about can be construed as the images seen in art. Do you see any parallels between these ‘‘false images’’ and the images projected on a movie screen? Explain those differences.

Do a research project on the history of American Jewish humor and humorists, from Vaudeville through radio, television, stage, and screen. How have Jewish comics and comedians contributed to the understanding and appreciation of the American Jewish experience? In what unique ways do you think they have contributed to the understanding of the human condition?

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