English Dictionary I.1.a. A poem
or . . . prose composition, in which prevailing vices or
follies are held up to ridicule. Sometimes, less correctly, applied to
composition in verse or prose intended to ridicule a particular person or class
of persons, a lampoon. ["lampoon" may equal
"parody" or "burlesque," as when National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
parodizes or mocks a normal family Christmas.]
employment, in speaking or writing, of sarcasm,
irony, ridicule, etc. in
exposing, denouncing, deriding, or ridiculing vice, folly, indecorum, abuses, or
evils of any kind.
Etymology: < French satire (=
Spanish sátira, etc.),
or directly < Latin satira , later
form of satura , . . . in classical
use a poem in which prevalent follies or vices are assailed with ridicule or
with serious denunciation. The word is a specific application of
. . . alleged to
have been used for a dish containing various kinds of fruit, and for food
composed of many different ingredients.
Narrative of Satire
Satire. The word
“satire” comes from Greek “mixed-dish”; thus its
story-line is episodic and
elements of other genres including
humor, wit, and
The topic being
be humanity or society in general, or particular classes or
pastimes [e.g., Christmas, Prom, freshman year],
but typically the genre satirizes politics, sex, and religion.
Since laughter is pleasing and diverting and makes one feel superior, satire
enjoys more liberty than other genres in treating such sensitive
disarming device, the narrator or protagonist of satire may
be a "naif"--an innocent person (usually young and likeable) who
appears to lack any pre-existing attitudes toward right or wrong in what
s/he observes, and so makes the object of satire appear more preposterous.
Examples: Candide in Voltaire's Candide, Huck in Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn, Austin Powers, etc. Compare
"mixed dish," the satiric narrative may depend for its narrative integrity on the audience’s
knowledge of the original story being satirized. Gulliver's Travels
(1726) may begin as a satire not only of European societies but of
The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1718), published only
8 years earlier.
In more recent instances, the
Shots movies may appear to be simply an unconnected series of goofy scenes unless
you’ve seen Top Gun
warrior-hero movies, in which case
you know that episodes from the satire spoof or parody episodes from the
original films. Young Frankenstein
similarly depends on a familiarity with the original
or at least with the cliches of old-time horror movies.
More recent examples:
Scary Movie series spoofs
What you Did Last Summer, Blair Witch Project,
Scream (itself a satire), etc.
Not Another Teen Movie (2001) parodies Pretty
in Pink, She's All That, 10 Things I Hate About You,
+ references to American Pie, The Breakfast Club,
Footloose, The Karate Kid, and other examples of the "Teen Movie"
genre, with stock character types like "the Pretty Ugly Girl," "the
Popular Jock," "the Cocky Blonde Guy," "the Nasty Cheerleader," and "the
Token Black Guy."
the satirical narrative will end somewhat like the original narrative, but, in
terms of tone, the seriousness or pretensions of the original narrative will be
As a single-voiced example, an impersonator
depends on his audience’s pre-knowledge of a celebrity’s mannerisms
impersonation = mimesis