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In literary works, satire can be direct or indirect. With direct satire, the writer speaks directly to the reader. With indirect satire, the author’s intent is realized within the narrative and its story. The word satire traces back to the Latin word “satur,” meaning “well-fed,” and was used in the phrase “lanx satura,” meaning “a dish full of many kinds of fruit.” Though these words seem far removed from the definition of satire, they were used by ancient Roman critics and writers to refer to what we know as satire today, including what is commonly considered the literary origin of satire. The word “satire ”has been introduced into the English language in the sixteenth century.
What is Satire in Literature?
Satire in literature is a type of social criticism. Writers use dramatization, irony, and other devices to shove fun of a particular leader, a social custom or tradition, or any other wide spread social figure or practice that they want to comment on and call into question. Modern writers have used satire to comment on everything from capitalism to racism. Satire is the art of making someone or something look ridiculous, raising laughter in order to embarrass, humble, or humiliate its targets.
A Novel to be satire it has to use humor, irony, and exaggeration to critic something or someone, but that leaves a lot of room for tonal variety. And, of course, satiric novels can have so many different subjects. They can criticize politics, academia, a particular social class, or certain attitudes about race.
A work that uses ridicule, humor, and wit to criticize and provoke change in human nature and institutions. Satire Novels are loosely defined as art that ridicules a specific topic in order to provoke readers into changing their opinion of it. By attacking what they see as human recklessness, satirists usually imply their own opinions on how the thing being attacked can be improved. Perhaps the most famous work of British satire is Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), where the occupants of the different lands Gulliver visits embody what Swift saw as the prominent vices and corruptions of his time.
Two Kinds Of Satire
Those who thinks people are blind and foolish and wishes to cure them.
Those who hates people and wants to punish them.
Various Forms Of Satire
- Monologue – This is just one speaker ,speaking directly to the audience, usually in
the form of an essay.
- Parody – This is an imitation which uses distortion and exaggeration to evoke amusement or derision. It groups extremes to make them absurd.
- Narrative – This is a story that leaves a bitter aftertaste with the reader, with the intended purpose of change.
- Visual Art – Political cartoons and caricatures are examples of this form.
Types of Satire
Satire Novels are classified into three types:
Each type serves different role.
Horatian satire is comic and offers light social commentary. It is meant to poke fun at a person or situation in an entertaining way. This kind of satire rarely includes personal attacks, but rather aims to promote morals and teach lessons.
Eg: Gulliver’s Travels, written by Jonathan Swift in the eighteenth century
Juvenalian satires are quiet dark, rather than comedic and It is meant to speak truth to power. This type of satire is less kind towards its subject than Horatian. In this kind we can really see the writer’s objections and their call for change.
Eg: Animal Farm written by George Orwell in 1945
Menippean satire project moral judgment on a particular belief, such as extremism or racism. It can resemble both Horatian and Juvenalian satire as it depicts both comedy and the dark side. However this type of satire is not that much rude as Juvenalian satire, Menippean satirists often target what they see as harmful attitudes, such as racism, sexism, or just plain arrogance.
Eg: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll
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Examples of Satire Novels
1. Dorothy Parker, -“A Telephone Call”
Parker’s short story is a satirical take on love and dating. It reads as an urgent apology with the narrator, seemingly a young woman, revealing her insecurities as she begs God for her boyfriend to call her. Her boyfriend said he would call at 5:00, but it’s now 7:10 and she hasn’t heard from him. Sitting ,starting at the phone, the narrator slowly goes into panic mode and reviews virtually every second of her last encounter with her boyfriend, trying to see if she missed some sign or indicator that he was no longer interested in her. She hesitates between declaring her love for him and never wanting to see him again, but by the end, she’s bargaining with God to make her boyfriend call her.
2. Joseph Heller -“Catch -22”
Catch-22 takes place during second world war and charts the exploits of American antihero Captain John Yossarian, a bombardier in the Air Force. Feeling allegiance to neither nation nor principles, Yossarian spends much of the war angry that his life is constantly in danger. He fakes multiple illnesses to try to avoid battle, and the memory of a dead fellow soldier, Snowden, haunts him. Situations, ranging from the heartbreaking to the ludicrous, challenge Yossarian at every turn until he finally refuses to fly any further missions. The novel satirizes war, religion, bureaucracy, idealism, human suffering, and wartime politics.
3. Bret Easton Ellis-” American Psycho”
Ellis’s novel is set in 1980s New York City, where investment banker Patrick Bateman lives a secret life as a serial killer. He moves seamlessly between the daily routine of work, nightclubbing, snorting cocaine, spending time with his fiancée, and committing murders in the dark of night. Bateman’s grip on crumbles as the story progresses, but he ultimately takes no responsibility for the killings, is never held accountable, and ends up back with his friends in a Manhattan nightclub. Through Bateman, Ellis satirizes yuppie culture, Wall Street ruthlessness, and ‘80s-era excess.
Popularity Of Satirical Novels
In Eighteenth century Satire Novels was very popular in Europe. This era has been considered to be the golden age of Satire literatures. In England, this golden age of satire included Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift (Applebee 584). The eighteenth century was dominated by satiric poetry, nonfiction and drama.
List Of Some Best Satirical Novels And their Authors are given below:
- Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
- The House of God by Samuel Shem
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek
- Anything by Terry Pratchett
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
- The King David Report by Stefan Heym
- Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes
- Blackadder Goes Forth by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
Satire is a powerful art form which has the ability to point out the inadequacy in certain human behaviors and the social issues which result from them in such a way that they become ridiculous, even hilarious, which is therefore entertaining and reaches a wide audience.