Archive for the ‘★ Comedy & Satire.’ Category

Below are three strong examples of modern satire from America’s leading news source, The Onion.

1. The Industrial Revolution 

2. The Disease called Obesity

3. Night Olympics and more! (video)

                       Questions to answer and issues to deal with for each example. Please respond in paragraph from

1. What is the issue or topic that is being satirized?  Is there a deeper message or more serious subject lurking under the surface? Is it obvious or not? Explain.

2. What kind of tone/tones do the examples have (serious, comical, scholarly, etc)? Give examples.

3. How is humor used to enhance the satirical message? Give examples.

4. Is the satire effective? does it work or could an average person not “get it”? Explain.

Have this digitally completed in a Word document for Tuesday the 21st.

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You are a team. For your group’s concept, please prepare a presentation using powerpoint or some kind of presentation software/application (anything is possible, use what works for you). Each team member must participate in researching and delivering the material. The goal is to educate me and prove to yourselves that you have an understanding of the class concepts.  Let’s plan on Friday as GO day for this.

Comedy – What is it and how do we know we are experiencing it?

1. Research the concept of comedy.

  • Construct a definition that makes sense to you and will make sense to your classmates.
  • Can this concept be subdivided into different kinds or types?
  • If so what are they, generally?

2. Address this issue:

  • What purpose does comedy serve? In other words, why does it exist?
  • Who creates it and what does an audience “get” from it.

3. Each of you find a strong example of comedy from the “real world”. In other words, fine the funniest thing you can (easy part). Any medium. For each example, be prepared to provide an explanation of what exactly is so funny about it (hard part). 

Satire – What is it and how do we know when we’re experiencing it?

1. Research the concept of satire.

  • Construct a definition that makes sense to you and will make sense to your classmates.
  • Can this concept be subdivided into different kinds or types?
  • If so what are they, generally?

2. Address these issues:

  • What purpose does satire serve? In other words, why does it exist?
  • Who creates it? What does an audience “get” from it?

3. Each of you find a really strong example of satire from the “real world” that you feel is representative  and be prepared to share it.  Text, video, audio, whatever. For each, you must provide some an explanation of what is being satirized.

NO PAGES OF NOTES PLEASE. NO TEXT ON THE SCREEN (except for a photo caption if needed). 

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Historical Background

Over the centuries, England gradually gained a foothold in Ireland. In 1541, the parliament in Dublin recognized England’s Henry VIII, a Protestant, as King of Ireland. In spite of repeated uprisings by Irish Catholics, English Protestants acquired more and more estates in Ireland. By 1703, they owned all but ten percent of the land. Meanwhile, legislation was enacted that severely limited the rights of the Irish to hold government office, purchase real estate, get an education, and advance themselves in other ways. As a result, many Irish fled to foreign lands, including America. Most of those who remained in Ireland lived in poverty, facing disease, starvation, and prejudice. It was this Ireland, an Ireland of the tyrannized and the downtrodden, that Jonathan Swift attempted to focus attention on in A Modest Proposal in 1720.

PDF is here —> Jonathan Swift – A Modest Proposal – 1729

The audio of “A Modest Proposal” (read by a voice actor) can be streamed here –> http://www.stuffyoushouldread.com/episode-33a-a-modest-proposal-by-jonathan-swift/.  Respond to the following for discussion.

  1. “A Modest Proposal” has been called “simultaneously playful and shocking”. What is meant by this? Find examples in the MenuIcontext that could support this claim.
  2. At what point do you as the reader realize the true nature of the work?
  3. Characterize the speaker.
  4. What is the social issue at the heart of “A Modest Proposal”. What current issue could lend itself in a similar way to satire?
  5. At this point when Swift mentions real reforms that could help Ireland, has the satire become overpowering in the piece or does it strengthen this moment?
  6. Highlight/annotate things things that Swift does with language…
  • The use of specific language and imagery to affect the reader
  • Swift’s characterization of the Irish
  • The use of pure logic and mathematics
  • irony




Allusions and Vocabulary

Barbadoes (Barbados): Easternmost West Indies island, settled by the British in 1627. When Swift published “A Modest Proposal” in 1729, the island’s plantation owners used slaves to produce sugar for European consumption.
Dublin: The Irish city mentioned in “A Modest Proposal.” It is the capital of Ireland.
Flay: Remove skin.
Formosa: Portuguese name for Taiwan, a Chinese-inhabited island off the southeast coast of China.
Mandarin: High-ranking Chinese official.
Papist: Roman Catholic.
Pretender: James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766), son of King James II, who ruled England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1685 to 1688. James II was a Catholic, as was his wife, Mary of Modena. After his accession to power, Protestant factions continually maneuvered against him in the background. When Mary became pregnant, these factions worried that the birth of her child would establish a line of Catholic kings. Consequently, they plotted to oust James II and replace him with Dutchman William of Orange, whose mother was the daughter of an English king, Charles I, and whose wife was one of James II’s own daughters. When William marched against England, many Protestants in James II’s army deserted to William, and James had no choice but to flee to France. After he died in 1701, the French king then proclaimed James II’s young son, James Francis Edward Stuart, to be the rightful king of England. The English Parliament then enacted laws designed to prevent seating another Catholic king. Nevertheless, in succeeding years, James Francis repeatedly attempted to regain the throne, and the British eventually nicknamed him the Old Pretender.
Psalmanazar, George: French forger and impostor who traveled widely under different personas. In one of his most famous schemes, he pretended to be from Formosa (present-day Taiwan), of which little was known in the Europe of his time. In London, he published a book about Formosa in which he wrote that Formosan law permitted a husband to eat a wife if she committed adultery. Psalmanazar had never visited Formosa; the whole book was made up. Nevertheless, many Englishmen believed what he had written.

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Characterization – Keep track of how these animals are characterized as we progress through the chapters   (1-3)   (4-7)   (8-10)

  • Farmer Jones
  • Old major
  • Benjamin
  • Mollie
  • Boxer
  • Snowball
  • Napoleon
  • Squealer
  • Moses

The Russian revolution:

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/middletons1/russian-revolution-animal-farm&#8221; title=”Russian Revolution – Animal Farm” target=”_blank”>Russian Revolution – Animal Farm</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/middletons1&#8243; target=”_blank”>middletons1</a></strong> </div>

  Animal Farm Comparison of characters to Russian Revolution

Animal Farm Russian Revolution
Mr. Jones

  • irresponsible to his animals (lets them starve)
  • sometimes cruel – beats them with whip
  • sometimes kind – mixes milk in animal mash
Czar Nicholas II

  • a poor leader at best, compared to western kings
  • cruel – sometimes brutal with opponents
  • Sometimes kind – hired students as spies to make $
Old Major

  • taught Animalism
  • workers do the work, rich keep the $, animals revolt
  • dies before revolution
Karl Marx

  • invented Communism
  • “workers of the world unite”, take over gov’t
  • dies before Russian Revolution

  • no owners, no rich, but no poor
  • workers get a better life, all animals equal
  • everyone owns the farm

  • same
  • all people equal
  • gov’t owns everything, people own gov’t

  • young, smart, good speaker, idealistic
  • really wants to make life better for all
  • one of leaders of revolution
  • chased away into exile by Napoleon’s dogs
Leon Trotsky

  • other leader of “October Revolution”
  • pure communist, followed Marx
  • wanted to improve life for all in Russia
  • chased away by Lenin’s KGB (Lenin’s secret police)

  • not a good speaker, not as clever like Snowball
  • cruel, brutal, selfish, devious, corrupt
  • his ambition is for power, killed opponents
  • used dogs, moses, and Squealor to control animals
Joseph Stalin

  • not a good speaker, not educated like Trotsky
  • same as Napoleon, didn’t follow Marx’s ideas
  • cared for power, killed all that opposed him
  • used KGB, allowed church, and propagandized

  • big mouth, talks a lot
  • convinces animals to believe and follow Napoleon
  • Changes and manipulates the commandments
Propaganda department of Lenin’s government

  • worked for Stalin to support his image
  • used any lie to convince the people to follow Stalin
  • benefited from the fact that education was controlled
The Dogs

  • a private army that used fear to force animals to work
  • killed or intimidated any opponent of Napoleon
  • another part of Napoleon’s strategy to control animals
KGB – Secret Police

  • not really police, but forced support for Stalin
  • used force, often killed entire families for disobedience
  • totally loyal, part of Lenin’s power, even over army
Moses the Raven

  • tells animals about Sugar Candy mountain – Heaven
  • animals can go there if they work hard
  • Snowball and Major were against him
  • they though Heaven was a lie to make animals work
  • Napoleon let him stay because he taught animals to
  • work and not complain

  • Marx said “Opiate of the people” a lie
  • used to make people not complain and do their work
  • Religion was tolerared because people would work
  • Stalin knew religion would stop violent revolutions

  • was vain – loved her beauty and self
  • didn’t think about the animal farm
  • went with anyone who gave her what she wanted
Vain, selfish people in Russia and world

  • some people didn’t care about revolution
  • only though about themselves
  • went to other countries that offered more for them

  • strong, hard working horse, believes in Animal Farm
  • “Napoleon is always right”, “I must work harder”
  • gives his all, is betrayed by Napoleon, who sells him
Dedicated, but tricked communist supporters

  • people believed Stalin because he was “Communist”
  • many stayed loyal after it was obvious Stalin a tyrant
  • betrayed by Stalin who ignored and killed them

  • old, wise donkey who is suspicious of revolution
  • thinks “nothing ever changes”, and is right
  • his suspicions are true, about Boxer and sign changes
Skeptical people in Russia and outside Russia

  • weren’t sure revolution would change anything
  • realized that a crazy leader can call himself communist and be taken seriously
  • knew that communism wouldn’t work with power hungry leaders
Overall details about revolution

  • it was supposed to make life better for all
  • life was worse at the end
  • The leaders became the same as, or worse than the other farmers (humans) they rebelled against
Overall details of Russian Revolution

  • supposed to fix problems from Czar
  • life was even worse long after revolution
  • Stalin made Czar look like a nice guy by comparison


You are about to watch one of two film versions of Animal Farm. The first is the “classic” version, animated in 1954, after the death of George Orwell (d.1950). The second is the more modern live action 1999 version. After watching the version you are assigned, you must estimate Orwell’s opinion of the particular adaptation of his novel and ultimately answer the question: “What Would George Orwell Think” Please do this in the comments section of this post. generate at least 500 words, grammar and spelling conscious, using direct examples to support your points. Use at least three time codes (on the movie timer) to indicate portions of the film you are referring to. Perfect your response in a word document and then paste into comments section (comments cannot be edited). Use your real name.







When responding to this, remember to consider Orwell’s politics  and the strong satirical value of the book.  Consider either film’s level of faithfulness (especially the more modern version), or whether this factor would even be important to G.O. What would be important? It is perhaps notable that the making of the first film was directly (and quietly) funded by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the midst of the Cold War. Please have this completed by class THURSDAY 5/2

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Animal Heroes, First Class

Animal Heroes, First Class

The film you’ve seen/are seeing in class was animated in 1954, after the death of George Orwell (d.1950). After watching this version, you must estimate Orwell’s opinion of this adaptation of his novel and ultimately answer the question: “What Would George Orwell Think” Please do this in the comments section of this post.

the poster from 1954

the poster from 1954

When responding to this, remember to consider Orwell’s politics and the strong allegorical value of the book.  Consider the film’s level of faithfulness, or whether this factor would even be important to G.O. What would be important? It is perhaps notable that the making of this film was directly (and quietly) funded by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the midst of the Cold War. Hmmm.

Author and son, 1946

Author and son, 1946

Please use multiple paragraphs, correct mechanics, direct quotes, specifics and complete ideas…just like on paper.

I would also like you to “comment on the comment” of another EuroLit. student, from any class. This may be in assent or dissent, but either way, please be explicit.  Also, use your regular name PLEASE when posting comments. Of course you may comment as much as you like, but please be specific as to what you’re commenting on.

"I will work harder!"

“I will work harder!” “Mr. Branson is always right!”

So, The initial response must happen before school starts again on Monday, 6/8 (A DAY).  B day took a little longer to watch the film, so have yours done before our last class, 6/16. Talkback and secondary commenting can continue indefinitely.

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S         Y         M         B          O          L           I            S          M


“Pig Brother?” What’s that supposed to mean?

S   C   A   V   E   N   G   E   R                   H   U   N   T

Your group’s task is to collect and photograph 3 items which serve to symbolize particular characters from Animal farm. It is very important that you not divulge the identity of your characters to people outside your group and that you avoid concrete or literal representations of your character. In other words, a picture of a duck does not symbolize a duck. It’s just a picture of a duck.

The challenge is to represent your character with the most clever and meaningful symbolic items you can find.  Please avoid images and representations of animals. Please use existing objects as opposed to creating your own. As a group you will have a chance to discuss and explain your items during class.   SHOW YOUR AWESOME SENSE OF SYMBOLISM!

So, the  basic rules are as follows:

  • keep the identity of your character a secret among your group.  Other students should be able to guess the character by the items you display.
  • collect images of symbolic value relating to your character. Photograph actual things. Avoid taking anything from the internet
  • be prepared to create explanations for the choices you have made.

Defend image choices. Download the following and complete ONE for EACH of your assigned characters. Symbolism defense.  This will consist of a complete explanation of how your image is appropriate in standing for you character. Multiple complete sentences (if you need a minimum number, here it is: FIVE) and thoughts. Make it extremely clear that tour image is absolutely, deeply appropriate. If it is not defensible, maybe it is not the best image!


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