Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Analyzing Satire: The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

We're now going to apply what we've learned about satire by studying "A Modest Proposal" to another satirical literary work: The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.

What is it? Go here to find out.

Where's the text? Go here to get it.

What I'd like you to do before class time on Monday (11/2) is pick SEVEN (7)* word entries from Bierce's satirical dictionary that no one else has commented on yet. In your answer in the Google Classroom, copy a dictionary definition and copy Bierce's satirical definition. Then, explain how Bierce satirizes a particular target by deviating from the standard definition.

Try to figure out Bierce's target and how he uses particular strategies to satirize that target. Does Bierce use any of the satirical strategies we've discussed, including irony, satirical inversion (or reversal), understatement (meiosis, litotes), exaggeration (hyperbole), sarcasm, absurd incongruity, and asserting a position by pretending to sweep aside that position (apophasis/paralipsis)?

Explaining satire (like explaining a joke) is difficult, so I'd rather you risk explaining too much than risk explaining too little.


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