Satire: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon and as a tool to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.
For Essay 2, I would like you to select a problem in today’s world, then write an essay that poses a satirical solution (see “Let Them Eat Dog” for an example of satire in writing). You will need to clearly describe the problem itself (e.g. homeless veterans in San Francisco, texting and driving, global warming, etc.) then pose your solution in clear terms using humor and irony to develop your position.
Here’s how to begin…
First, do a little research. The best way to find problems of all sorts in our world is to read any daily newspaper. Remember: problems are situations that most would agree are un-acceptable. Solutions to problems, on the other hand, involve widely varying opinions.
Second, think of your real point of view on the problem you’ve found. What do you think we should really do about this problem? How would the problem best be solved in your opinion?
After you’ve determined your actual stance on the problem you’ve selected, then think of a satirical way to “solve” (or rather comment upon) this issue. Often in satire, your “solution” may be the exact opposite of what you really feel should be done. For example, in “Let Them Eat Dog,” Foer’s real purpose is to make us think twice about eating meat, but he does this by suggesting a satirical solution to the problems caused by factory farming: let’s simply eat all the dogs in this country that will end up euthanized anyway. Of course, Foer’s ultimate goal is to comment upon our irrational attachment to meat-eating, and he does so by suggesting that we eat something that most people would find repulsive.
For more examples of contemporary satire, try visiting the Onion’s website. A gentle warning though: the solution you pose must be your own! Stealing ideas from the Onion is considered plagiarism.
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