Thursday, April 19, 2012


I've always been obsessed with a british T.V. series called, Skins, and whilst working on this blog I realized that there are a lot of parts of it that are ironic therefore can discuss/critically analyze the episodes I watch! I decided to focus on the final episode of season four because in this episode Effy, the main character, has been going through mental breakdowns causing her to be in need of help from a psychologist. Her psychologist is John T. Foster and he seems like your average shrink until the final two episodes of the season. He ends up being obsessed with Effy and kills her boyfriend, Freddie. Freddie knew something fishy was going on because Effy wasn't acting like herself, literally. Foster was brainwashing Effy into thinking she was someone else and being in her fragile state she had no idea what was going on. He also took advantage of what she told her in secrecy and took matter into his own hands when he killed Freddie and attempted to kill her best friend, Cook. This is extremely ironic because this is a psychopathic psychologist. It sends out an important message that no one can truly be trusted and there's more to a person than what's externally expressed.

YT21Account, adapt. Skins Season 4 Episode 8. YouTube. N.p., 13 Nov. 2011. Web. 19 April 2012.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Humor in writing goes hand in hand with ironic music therefore I did some personal research through my iTunes library to find ironic songs that confuse one because of how catchy they may sound but when you read the lyrics and in between them - it's shocking what one can tell about an artist.

To stay in the boundaries of British culture I found two songs that were from British artists.

Rehab - Amy Winehouse
This is a fairly obvious one. Here she is, writing a song about not going to rehab, when she actually really needed to go to rehab. From my personal knowing about the artist - she could not go pick up her four grammy awards, or perform at the grammy's because she was IN rehab. She performed from a stage her song "rehab" proclaiming she wouldn't go, but the truth is the only reason she was able to perform is because her current rehab counselor let her perform. Which makes this song extremely ironic.

Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles
Can't buy me love was written and performed by Paul Mccartney...and well, even though Paul didn't think he could buy love...why do I feel like Heather Mills (Paul's ex) would disagree? This song should have warned him to get a pre-nup, but because he believed in 'love' not being able to be bought, he got SOLD. He may not have wanted that diamond ring, but Heather sure did and that's what makes this song so very ironic!

These two songs along with many other songs can be classified as ironic music because of the artist's who wrote them but whether they did so intentionally one may never know! I plan to further my research on ironic music as I go deeper into how Satire can be expressed in a plethora of ways.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


 "The period from the 1980s to the present has witnessed sustained and progressively heightened interest among language scholars in linguistically based accounts of verbal humor" (Simpson 16)

Researching on the topic of Satire can be quite entertaining because satire can have a humorist approach to it as well. I found a book called, On the Discourse of Satire. Towards a Stylistic Model of Satirical Humour, and highlighted what intrigued me and had to do on the matter of Satire through humor. Which can be classified as horatian type satire.

In this chapter that I highlighted in the book called Linguistic Approaches to Humor it discusses how humor can be deliberate or accidental. It says there are four set scenarios that people can be categorized under...
"I. You mean to be funny and you are funny.
II. You mean to be funny but you are not funny.
III. You don't mean to be funny but you are funny.
IV. You don't mean to be funny and you are not funny." (Simpson 17)
I and III can be categorized under accidental humor and I, II, and IV can be categorized under deliberate humor. Another category as the book talked about what "the slip of the tongue" which is accidental humor or even a Freudian slip where one speaks the truth but doesn't realize it because it's their subconscious controlling the thought process during that time. Some writers have tried to make these scenarios for humor evident in writing through Satire because it sends out an ironic message that makes the reader think twice about what exactly they're reading which is pretty neat, if you ask me.

Simpson, Paul. On the Discourse of Satire. Towards a Stylistic Model of Satirical Humour. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2003. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal is a great piece of satire and in an article that I came across in my previous post I learned that it is a quintessential Juvenalian satire. Which can be defined as "any bitter and/or ironic criticism of contemporary persons or institutions that is filled with personal invective, angry moral indignation, and pessimism." This piece of work revealed an often overlooked dimension of British colonialism regarding the Irish through savage and ridiculous measures. "A bitter attack, Swift’s morbid tale delineates an immoral and perverse solution to Ireland’s economical woes using bizarre yet brilliantly clear logic and a detached tone in order to attack indifference to the poor. Swift’s satirical tone, relying on realism and harshness to carry its message, is much more acerbic than his counterpart, perfectly displaying Juvenalian satire’s ability to shock and ridicule." (Szwec)

Reading this article helped me realize that both Pope and Swift used their literary talents and advantages to express contemporary society (back in the day) and ultimately forcing them to acknowledge the shortcomings of that certain time period.

Szwec, Jonathan. "Satire in 18th Century British Society: Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock and Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal". Student Pulse. 2011. 2 April 2012.

"Juvenalian Satire."Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. 2012. Web. 5 April 2012.

Monday, April 2, 2012


While furthering my research on satire I came across an article discussing Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock as well as what I had based my original interest on the subject of satire, Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal.
This article discussed some important ideas that I learned were key to the roots of satirical writing: 
  • an obsession with decorum
  • innate sense of moral and political supremacy 
  • rationality 
Satire ultimately criticizes all of these ideas that the enlightenment era had established and without them there would be no purpose to satirical writing.   
"Pope and Swift, well known for their sharply perceptive works, both looked to rhetorical masters of the rational, classical past and their separate satirical archetypes for inspiration." (Szwec)
This being said The Rape of the Lock delicately expresses society with a sly but polished voice by holding up a mirror to the vanities of the upper class. Alexander Pope does not directly attack the British aristocracy, but rather presents it in such a way that gives the reader a new perspective from which it is evident that the actions in the story are foolish and ridiculous. A slight mockery of the upper class, more delicate and lyrical than his brutal counterpart, Jonathan Swift. Pope nonetheless is able to effectively illuminate the moral degradation of society to the public.

I will be discussing Jonathan Swift's take on satire in a different post...

Szwec, Jonathan. "Satire in 18th Century British Society: Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock and Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal". Student Pulse. 2011. 2 April 2012.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


As we learned about Jonathan Swifts "A Modest Proposal" in Brit Lit I, the idea of satirical writing intrigued me because of how strong the voice irony is and how it really makes one think about what exactly is going on in ones society or even in their lives. This lead me to research satire-esque writing where I found an article about an overview of a British Drama that was a moral satire called, The Plain Dealer. This drama was written by William Wycherley and was from one of his well known comedies that displayed the most variety of content and style.

"Its subplot, in which Freeman overreaches the litigious Widow Blackacre, to whom he has been paying mercenary court, and succeeds in securing an income and the discharge of his debts without even having to marry her, is a simple comedy of humours, peppered with law terms and diversified with her independence-seeking son Jerry and her other suitor the superannuated wit Major Oldfox. Its main plot, whose connections with the subplot are of the slightest, is a comedy of intrigue, with a strong moral and satirical flavour, employing occasional blank verse as well as the customary prose." (Craik)

In this story great stress is laid on insincerity and that is the major motif of irony and satire that is presented in the drama. It was interesting to read about because it portrayed British' lifestyle which was quite different than American lifestyle but yet the story was very simplistic and relatable to what Brits might actually encounter in their everyday lives. 

Craik, T.W. "The Plain-dealer: Overview." Reference Guide to English Literature. Ed. D. L. Kirkpatrick. 2nd ed. Chicago: St. James Press, 1991.Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Post

This is my British Literature II research blog where I will be posting research on Satire throughout the years and how it has been evident in British literature and still is to this day.